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Involuntary Manslaughter in Ohio

Updated: September 29, 2021
Nicholas G. Gounaris
By Nicholas G. Gounaris

Nicholas G. Gounaris is a skilled trial lawyer and founding partner of Gounaris Abboud law firm. He provides clients of the firm with competent legal representation and focuses his law practice in the areas of DUI Defense, Criminal Defense, Family Law Issues, Federal Criminal Law and Personal Injury cases.

Charges of Ohio Involuntary Manslaughter Can Lead to Lengthy Prison Sentences: Get the Help You Need Now

involuntary manslaughter charge

We take driving for granted. We love our cars, and we are used to the freedom driving a car allows us to experience. In fact, our lives depend on our ability to drive. 

We forget that driving a motor vehicle is dangerous. Despite knowing the dangers of driving, we mindlessly get in our cars to go to work or school.

However, our complacency when we drive could put us in dangerous positions. This is especially true after having a couple of drinks and then driving. 

If you are in an accident after you’ve had a couple of drinks and someone dies, then you could face charges of involuntary manslaughter in Ohio.

An Ohio involuntary manslaughter sentence could leave you behind bars for up to a decade or more. The Ohio involuntary manslaughter defense lawyers with Gounaris Abboud have helped countless clients who thought they had no way to win their case avoid the harsh penalties imposed by Ohio law.

Gounaris Abboud’s experience, resources, and skills can help give you the best chance to avoid a long involuntary manslaughter sentence in Ohio.

What Is Involuntary Manslaughter by Motor Vehicle in Ohio?

Involuntary manslaughter by motor vehicle in Ohio generally refers to charges stemming from a fatal motor vehicle accident. Ohio law categorizes the charges based on the circumstances of how the crash occurred. The categories of crimes are:

  • Aggravated vehicular homicide;
  • Vehicular homicide; and
  • Vehicular manslaughter.

The penalties vary for these offenses depending on the facts of the case and your criminal record if you have one. 

Aggravated Vehicular Homicide By OVI

 In Ohio, a person is guilty of a second-degree felony for being the proximate cause of someone’s death in an accident if operating a vehicle while intoxicated, under the influence of drugs, or both.  Ohio law defines this offense as aggravated vehicular homicide.

A person convicted of aggravated vehicular homicide faces a minimum mandatory prison sentence. Under Ohio law, the judge must impose a minimum mandatory sentence of two, three, four, five, six, seven, or eight years. That means you are not eligible for parole or early release until you serve the minimum sentence. 

The judge has to follow a formula that sets the maximum term you spent in prison. After the judge sets the minimum mandatory term of your sentence for involuntary manslaughter in Ohio, then the judge must set the maximum sentence.

Ohio law instructs the judge to add 50% to the minimum sentence to arrive at the maximum sentence. The state will also revoke your license or driving privileges for life. 

Ohio law allows the prosecution to bring charges against you that have enhanced sentences if certain conditions exist. You face a first-degree felony conviction for aggravated vehicular homicide if you meet those conditions.

The prosecution can ask the judge to increase your involuntary manslaughter sentence in Ohio if you:

  • Have three previous convictions for DUI/OVI within 10 years;
  • Have a previous conviction for assault or manslaughter involving a traffic offense;
  • Were driving without a license or on a suspended license; or
  • Committed a combination of any of these offenses.

A conviction for first-degree aggravated vehicular manslaughter could send you to prison for as long as 15 years or more depending on your record.

Aggravated Vehicular Homicide by Reckless Conduct

Aggravated vehicular homicide by reckless conduct is a third-degree felony. Recklessness is consciously disregarding an unjustifiable risk of harm.

If a person died in an accident and you were driving recklessly or committing a reckless driving offense in a construction zone, then you are guilty of Aggravated Vehicular Homicide by Reckless conduct. You could spend up to five years in prison for a third-degree felony conviction.

Your charges of involuntary manslaughter in Ohio could rise to a second-degree felony if the prosecution proves that enhanced sentences should be imposed. Enhanced sentences usually apply when you have prior convictions or drove while your license was suspended.

Vehicular Homicide

The charge of vehicular homicide applies to the death of someone in an accident caused by the negligent conduct of the driver. This charge also applies to the death of a person killed by a speeder in a construction zone if the crash occurred within the construction zone.

A person drives negligently when failing to abide by the standard of care all drivers are expected to observe.

The crime of vehicular homicide is a misdemeanor in the first degree. The maximum jail sentence is 180 days. However, the court must send anyone convicted of vehicular homicide to jail for a minimum of 15 days.

You could face fourth-degree felony charges if your license was suspended or revoked when the fatal crash happened.

Vehicular Manslaughter

The term vehicular manslaughter in Ohio applies to car crashes that occur when the driver commits a minor misdemeanor that causes the death of another. Accidentally running a red light or not stopping at a stop sign are examples of minor misdemeanors.

The maximum penalty for vehicular manslaughter by vehicle in Ohio is 90 days in jail. Notwithstanding, the prosecutor could ask to upgrade the charge to a first-degree misdemeanor if you drove on a suspended license when the crash happened.

Defenses to Ohio Involuntary Manslaughter Charges in Ohio

The types of defenses available to you will depend on the facts of the case and your criminal record. You must not wait too long before talking to a qualified attorney about your case. Otherwise, you might lose out on valuable evidence that could help you with your defense. 

At Gounaris Abboud, we aggressively pursue every avenue of defense available to you, so you have the best chance of winning your case. In some instances, the best defense is trying to knock evidence out of court because the police violated your rights.

Sometimes, the best defense might be showing the jury that the prosecution can’t prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. If those avenues of defense may not be fruitful, then we can try negotiating a plea bargain to reduce your charges. 

Gounaris Abboud: Aggressive Defense for Charges of Involuntary Manslaughter in Ohio

Contact Gounaris Abboud right away if you face involuntary manslaughter or any other charges resulting from a vehicle crash. We offer a free case analysis. Call us today at 937-222-1515 to discuss how our award-winning defense team can make a difference for you. 

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