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What is the difference between criminal and gross negligence?

In Maryland, there is a specific distinction between criminal negligence and gross negligence. Criminal negligence occurs when someone fails to see that his or her actions had no regard for another person’s life. The actions created an unjustifiable and substantial risk to someone else’s life that the defendant should have been aware of.

Gross negligence occurs when someone knows that his or her behavior will create a risk to someone else’s life, but proceeds anyway. The crime of vehicular manslaughter occurs with either criminal negligence or gross negligence.

Both vehicular manslaughter charges have serious penalties. For example, vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence is charged as a felony with possible penalties of a $500 fine and up to 10 years in prison. Vehicular manslaughter with criminal negligence is charged as a misdemeanor with possible penalties of a fine up to $5,000 and up to three years in prison.

There are other similar charges, such as vehicular homicide while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance, alcohol or drugs is a felony with possible penalties of up to a $5,000 fine and up to 3 years in prison. Vehicular homicide while under the influence of alcohol is charged as a felony and has possible penalties of up to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.

If you’re facing any of the above charges, it’s important to begin working on your defense strategy as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can provide you with more information on what that entails. Don’t delay planning your defense. The prosecution will make sure they are ready when your day in court arrives.

Source: FindLaw, “Maryland Involuntary Manslaughter Law,” accessed April 06, 2016

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