In California, manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice and is divided into three kinds: voluntary, involuntary and vehicular. For the purposes of this article, we’re going to focus on this last type: vehicular.
There are three general ways a person could commit the crime of vehicular manslaughter:
Under a change in the law, effective January 2023, meant to curb dangerous driving activity, for the purposes of determining whether an act constitutes vehicular manslaughter, “gross negligence” includes: (1) Participating in a sideshow, (2) an exhibition of speed, and (3) speeding over 100 miles per hour.
This change comes on the heels of the California Highway Patrol launching the Communities Against Racing and Side Shows campaign in October 2020, a campaign focusing on statewide public awareness campaigns on speed-related crashes and focused enforcement. According to the Department of the California Highway Patrol, in 2021, CHP responded to almost 6,000 street races and sideshows, issuing 2,500 citations statewide, making 87 arrests, and recovering 17 firearms. As illegal street racing becomes a more prevalent problem statewide, the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) has reported that these type of dangerous driving activity are often associated with other risky behavior including driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and driving without a seatbelt, and there is a strong link between most fatal crashes and risky driving.
As indicated by the legislature when the bill underlying this change in the law was introduced, there is a feeling that “repeat reckless driving and excessive speeding offenders fail to see the potential consequences of their actions and do not believe their behavior possess a threat to those around them, feeling instead they have everything under control, until their reckless behavior turns their vehicle into a deadly weapon ‘accidentally’ harming other motorists and pedestrians.”
So if you’re thinking of taking part in sideshows, be aware! If you have been charged with a crime related to sideshow activity and would like to speak with Devina regarding representation, feel free to reach out to her here.
 Malice can be express or implied. (Pen. Code § 188.) It is express when there is manifested a deliberate intention unlawfully to take away the life of a fellow creature. It is implied, when no considerable provocation appears, or when the circumstances attending the killing show an abandoned and malignant heart.
 This is punishable by a wobbler with up to one year in county jail or state prison for two, four, or six years.
 This is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail by not more than one year.
 This is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for four, six or 10 years.
 This includes burning out tires, revving engines, circling, and other activity intended for an audience or “sideshow” that ultimately leads to a speed contest.
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