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Vehicular Manslaughter | Vehicular Homicide

Vehicular Manslaughter | Vehicular Homicide

The Definitive Guide (2020)

If you are arrested for Vehicular Manslaughter or Vehicular Aggravated Assault and are looking for help – then you have come to the right place.

This guide is what you are looking for. 


Vehicular homicide refers to the category of Arizona crimes where a person was killed during a car accident.  Commonly these kinds of accident involve the use of alcohol, drugs or prescriptions medications.  There are also some vehicular homicide cases where impairment is not a factor.  These case usually involve an allegation of extremely excessive speed violations.

Vehicular Manslaughter

Manslaughter requires the government to prove that the person recklessly caused the death of another person. See § 13-1103. These cases are frequently DUI related homicides. Manslaughter is a class 2 felony.

Recklessly Cause Death

A person commits manslaughter if they recklessly causes the death of another person. The phrase manifesting extreme indifference to human life doesn’t add an additional culpable mental state but only requires an extreme form of recklessness that is greater than is required for manslaughter. 

Aggravated Assault Serious Injury Resulting from Traffic Violation

Extreme Indifference to Human Life

Whether or not such an “extreme indifference’ to human life exists is to be determined from all the facts and circumstances surrounding the vehicular homicide.”

Distracted Driving | Driving While Sleepy | Falling Asleep

Manslaughter Case Law

Unconsciousness is not separate affirmative defense to charge of manslaughter but is subsumed within the concept of “voluntary act,” which State must prove by statute. State v. Lindeken, 165 Ariz. 403, 799 P.2d 23 (App. 1990), review denied.

What is Vehicular Homicide?

Vehicular homicide is a more broad terms that describes a vehicular crime that results in death. This includes vehicular manslaughter, but also negligent homicide.

Is Killing Someone in a Car Accident Manslaughter

Not necessarily. There is a big different between a common car accident that result in death and vehicular homicide. Manslaughter requires both reckless behavior and an extreme indifference to human life.

Voluntary Manslaughter

A conviction for voluntary manslaughter requires evidence of an unlawful (unjustified) killing without malice (without the intent to kill), upon a sudden quarrel or heat of passion. State v. McIntyre 106 Ariz. 439, 477 P.2d 529 (1970).


The culpable mental state of recklessness is less than the intentional conduct required for an attempted manslaughter conviction. State v. Ruiz, 340 P.3d 396 (App. 2014).

Being Aware of The Risk

Reckless manslaughter involves being aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that one's conduct will cause another's death and consciously disregarding that risk. State v. Valenzuela 194 Ariz. 404, 984 P.2d 12 (1999).

Extreme Indifference

The culpable mental state of “extreme indifference” in context of crime of reckless second-degree murder is greater in degree of criminality than the culpable mental state involved in the crime of reckless manslaughter. State v. Walton, 133 Ariz. 282, 650 P.2d 1264 (App. 1982).

No Malice Required

Distinguishing characteristic between “murder” and “manslaughter” is that malice is not element of latter. Harding v. State, 26 Ariz. 334, 225 P. 482 (1924).

Must Be The Actual Cause | Cause-in-Fact | Proximate Cause

Defendant who was charged with manslaughter arising from automobile accident could be convicted only if jury found that her recklessness was both an actual cause, or cause-in-fact, and a proximate cause of victim's death. State v. Jansing, 186 Ariz. 63, 918 P.2d 1081 (App. 1996), review and cross review denied.


Unconsciousness is not separate affirmative defense to charge of manslaughter but is subsumed within concept of “voluntary act,” which State must prove by statute. State v. Lindeken, 165 Ariz. 403 (App. 1990), review denied.

Is Involuntary Manslaughter a Felony?

Manslaughter in Arizona is a Class 2 felony.

Superseding Causes

An intervening event is a superseding cause constituting a legal excuse only if unforeseeable and, with benefit of hindsight, abnormal or extraordinary.

Design Defect

Exclusion of evidence of possible design defect from placement of gasoline tank in victim's truck was proper, in prosecution for manslaughter, even though defendant claimed defect was superseding cause of fire and victim's death, as defendant accepted risk that she might hit another vehicle and kill the occupants when she chose to drive while intoxicated and not stop at stop sign, and it was neither unforeseeable nor abnormal that cause of death would be a collision-related fire. State v. Jansing, 186 Ariz. 63, 918 P.2d 1081, (App. 1996), review and cross review denied.

Driving While Intoxicated | Driving While Impaired

Second-Degree Murder

The difference between second-degree murder and manslaughter is the degree of “recklessness” that is attributable to a person’s conduct. On one hand, a person commits second-degree murder if “[u]nder circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life, the person recklessly engages in conduct that creates a grave risk of death and thereby causes the death of another person.”

Negligent Homicide

A person commits negligent homicide in Arizona if:

  1. With criminal negligence
  2. The person causes the death of another person. A.R.S. § 13-1102.

Criminal negligence is, with respect to the circumstances or result of an offense, the failure to “perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the result will occur or that the circumstance exists.

The risk must be of such a nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.” A.R.S. § 13-105(9)(d).

Negligent Manslaughter?

Negligent Homicide Definition

Vehicular Manslaughter | Vehicular Homicide

Frequently Asked Questions

Arizona calls the deceased in vehicular crimes a “victim.”  Under Arizona law a victim can be the driver of another car, a passenger in another car, a passenger in your car, a bicycle rider or a pedestrian.

No two states have the exact same vehicular homicide laws.  Arizona does not distinguish vehicular deaths from other types of manslaughter cases. 

Vehicular Manslaughter Sentence

  • Arizona Vehicular Manslaughter Sentence
  • Manslaughter Sentence
  • Manslaughter Jail Time
  • Voluntary Manslaughter Sentence
  • Minimum Sentence for Manslaughter
  • How many years for vehicular manslaughter? |

What is Unintentional Vehicular Manslaughter?

What is Vehicular Manslaughter?

DUI Vehicular Manslaughter | DUI Manslaughter Jail Time


Arizona Vehicular Manslaughter Attorney | Arizona Vehicular Manslaughter

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