What Is the Vehicular Manslaughter Sentence in Massachusetts?

Understanding Vehicular Manslaughter Sentence and Penalty in the Commonwealth

Car accidents happen all the time, but when one happens to involve the death of another, the terrible and frightening feelings that result from the tragedy can be compounded when faced with criminal charges for vehicular manslaughter. If you or someone you love is facing such criminal charges, you’re likely wondering what is the vehicular manslaughter sentence or penalty. This article is a brief introduction to the legal and financial implications of being charged with vehicular homicide.

As overwhelmed as you may feel if you have been charged with vehicular manslaughter, it is critical to hire an experienced and capable criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. If you are in the Worcester area, the criminal defense team at Murphy & Rudolf, LLP will be able to help aggressively and effectively assess your case and offer the solutions you need to protect your future. Contact us today for a free consultation: (508) 570-3037.

Massachusetts Statutes Regarding Vehicular Homicide

The State’s laws on vehicular manslaughter are indicated in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90, Section 24G. Statutes and laws are not written for the common person to easily understand, and you definitely can’t assume the vehicular manslaughter sentence based on an overview, so it’s always recommended to consult with a knowledgeable attorney about your case. You can use Murphy & Rudolf’s website as a resource or call us at (508) 570-3037 to schedule a free consultation on your case.

At its essence, in Massachusetts, “a motorist can be convicted of “homicide by motor vehicle” (also called “vehicular homicide”) for causing the death of another person while driving.” The vehicular homicide sentence ruled on by the court also depends on whether the crime is being charged as a misdemeanor or felony.

In order to understand what the vehicular manslaughter sentence may be, it’s necessary to understand the specific case. Vehicular manslaughter sentencing and penalties greatly depend on the context and circumstances of the incident, and if drugs or alcohol were involved in the crime. To better understand this, take a look at the table below, courtesy of FindLaw.


  • Defendant was operating a motor vehicle;
  • On a “public way”, or where members of the general public have a right of access or are business “invitees”;
  • Defendant was driving recklessly and while under the influence of alcohol or drugs; and
  • Caused the death of another person.


  • Defendant was operating a motor vehicle;
  • On a “public way”, or where members of the general public have a right of access or are business “invitees”;
  • Defendant was under the influence of alcohol, drugs or intoxicating substances; OR;
  • Defendant was operating recklessly or negligently so as to endanger the lives and safety of the public; and
  • Directly caused the death of another person.

Vehicular Manslaughter Sentence and Penalties:

In Massachusetts, if found guilty, you can face penalties including:

  • Fines ranging from $300-$3000 for misdemeanor offenses
  • Fines of no more than $15,000 for felony offenses

Misdemeanor convictions carry a vehicular manslaughter sentence between 30 days to 2.5 years and a felony conviction can carry “two-and-a-half to 15 years in prison or one to two-and-a-half years in jail.” However vehicular manslaughter jail sentence is more complex. For example, the “minimum” sentence does not guarantee that if convicted, you will serve that time.

Learn more about how Murphy & Rudolf’s Worcester criminal defense team can help you with vehicular manslaughter charges. You can call (508) 570-3037 today for a free consultation.

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