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Old 11-23-07, 05:16 PM
Arrogant Safety Nanny
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Location: Santa Maria, CA
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Short answer: Manslaughter IS a form of homicide.

Long answer:

DUI is not homicide if nobody dies because homicide is the simple act of one human being killing another human being.

DUI resulting in death is homicide because one human being caused the death of another human being.

Homicide covers a wide variety of situations, ranging from accidental homicide (not a crime) to premeditated, intentional murder.

Accidental homicide can occur in several circumstances. Using a vehicular example, a child runs out into the road between parked cars. A car traveling at or below the speed limit, with a clean windshield free of cracks or other visual obstructions, with no significant problems affecting the vehicle that the driver is aware of, driver is paying attention to the road, etc. strikes the child and kills him/her. That would most likely be determined to be an accident. There was nothing more the driver could have done, and the driver did not intentionally or negligently kill the child. An accidental homicide could also occur with one person shooting another person in the head. This is most often deemed an accident in the situation where a couple of kids get ahold of a gun, haven't been educated on how to use or handle firearms, and one accidentally shoots and kills the other.

Manslaughter involves the negligent killing of a human being. From the vehicular example above, if the driver was speeding prior to killing the child, that would constitute vehicular manslaughter, which is the unlawful killing of a human being while operating a vehicle in an illegal manner. The same is true if the driver of the vehicle was DUI, since DUI is illegal. With the gun situation, manslaughter could be the negligent shooting in the head of one guy by another drunk guy who didn't mean to do it but shouldn't have been holding a gun while drunk. Manslaughter could also apply to a "sudden quarrel/heat of passion" situation where one person shoots another in the head without thinking of the consequences but with intent to kill that person.

There are already heavier punishments for killing somebody while DUI than while speeding or otherwise operating a vehicle in a negligent/unlawful manner, since for some reason people think driving drunk and otherwise obeying all laws is worse than driving too fast for conditions or while distracted. Going off on a bit of a tangent, I think the same laws that apply to DUI should apply to all vehicular situations. Get caught speeding, get off relatively easy the 1st time. Kill somebody while speeding with a prior speeding conviction, go to jail for 15 years to life.

Some additional reading material (from

PC 195. Homicide is excusable in the following cases:
1. When committed by accident and misfortune, or in doing any
other lawful act by lawful means, with usual and ordinary caution,
and without any unlawful intent.
2. When committed by accident and misfortune, in the heat of
passion, upon any sudden and sufficient provocation, or upon a sudden
combat, when no undue advantage is taken, nor any dangerous weapon
used, and when the killing is not done in a cruel or unusual manner.

See PC 197 for situations where homicide is justifiable (it's a bit long to post here).
JeffB502 is offline