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Vehicular manslaughter charges dropped against San Jose man

Drunk driving charges can be hard enough to face, but when those charges are compounded by allegations of vehicular manslaughter, the consequences that come with conviction can be extremely serious. Although a death may have occurred during a car accident between two drivers, it does not necessarily mean that someone was at fault and should therefore face life-changing consequences. Thankfully, state and federal laws protect not only those that are injured or victims of a crash, but also those that are accused of causing the accident.

In a recent case in San Mateo County, charges were dropped against a man who was originally accused of vehicular manslaughter. Police claim the 43-year-old San Jose man caused an accident in Millbrae that killed a 19-year-old basketball player in November 2011. The man was tested for alcohol and allegedly had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.12 percent. He subsequently faced manslaughter and DUI charges.

But in a recent turn of events, the manslaughter charge was dropped. According to a news report, prosecutors agreed that the accident could not have been avoided even by a sober driver. The accident apparently happened because a Cadillac, carrying the 19-year-old man and other college students, was stopped in the middle of the freeway with no lights on. It ended up there after the Cadillac driver swerved and collided with the center road divider. Since the accident happened in the early morning, there was no way for the San Jose man to see the debris or car stalled in the middle of the road.

The 43-year-old recently pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor drunk driving charge and was sentenced to time served. If it wasn't for clear investigation and understanding of the facts of the case, this man could have faced much steeper consequences if a manslaughter conviction was obtained by prosecution.

Source: Mercury News, "DA drops vehicular manslaughter charges in drunken driving case," Joshua Melvin, July 26, 2012

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