California’s “Reckless Driving” Law
(Vehicle Code 23103 VC)

Young man in suit sitting in front of car with hands over face, with child's bike and helmet on side in front of him
Reckless driving can be charged as a felony when someone is seriously injured

Vehicle Code 23103 is California's law on “reckless driving.” It makes it a crime to drive with a wanton disregard for the safety of people or property.1

Penalties for reckless driving

If no one other than the reckless driver is injured, VC 23103 is a California misdemeanor. It can be punished at most by:

  • Five (5) to ninety (90) days in county jail, and/or
  • A fine of between $145 and $1,000. 2

But the possible jail sentence and fine increase if the reckless driving causes an injury.3

And any reckless driving conviction will add two points to the driver's California DMV record.4

Minor injury to a third party

If reckless driving causes a minor injury to a third party, the penalty under VC 23013 increases to:

  • 30 days to one (1) year in jail, and/or
  • A fine of $220 to $1,000.5

When can reckless driving be charged as a felony?

If someone other than the driver is seriously injured, reckless driving becomes a California “wobbler” offense. A “wobbler” can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, in the prosecutor's discretion.

When charged as a felony, reckless driving generally carries a possible penalty of:

  • Up to three (3) years in jail, and
  • A fine of up to $10,000.6

A serious injury (or death) also makes it less likely that the driver will be sentenced to misdemeanor probation or felony probation (as applicable).

What are California's felony reckless driving laws?

The two most common "wobbler" reckless driving laws that can be charged as a felony in California are:

  • Vehicle Code 23105, reckless driving causing specific serious injuries, 7 and
  • Vehicle Code 23104(b), reckless driving by someone with certain prior convictions.8

We discuss these code sections in more detail in Section 2.3, below.

But, in general, felony reckless driving can be charged when a third party suffers a serious injury such as:

  • Broken bones,
  • Loss of consciousness, or
  • Permanent disfigurement or loss of function.9

Felony reckless driving penalties

When VC 23104(b) or 23105 is charged as a felony, possible penalties can increase to:

  • 16 months, two (2) years or three (3) years in jail, and/or
  • A fine of up to $10,000.10

Reckless driving causing death

When a third party is killed as the result of someone's reckless driving, a prosecutor might choose to charge VC 23105 or VC 23104(b).

But the prosecutor might also charge either or both of two more serious felonies:

Penalties for Vehicular Manslaughter can include up to six (6) years in the California state prison.13

Penalties for Watson Murder can include 15 years to life in prison.14

We discuss these charges in detail in Section 2.4, below.

“Dry reckless” as a DUI plea bargain

Vehicle Code 23103 is often used as a plea bargain to avoid conviction under California DUI laws. Advantages of a so-called “dry reckless” plea deal can include:

  • No mandatory sentencing enhancements if charged with a subsequent DUI,
  • Shorter jail sentence and probation period,
  • Smaller fine, and
  • No mandatory court-ordered license suspension.

For more information, please see our article on “dry reckless” plea bargains in California DUI cases.

Legal defenses to California reckless driving charges

Legal defenses to reckless driving include taking the position that:

To help you better understand California laws on reckless driving, our California criminal defense lawyers discuss, below:

Looped motorcycle tire tracks on asphalt of empty parking lot
California Vehicle Code 23013 covers reckless driving in public parking lots

1. The legal definition of reckless driving

Penal Code Vehicle Code 23103 VC is California's basic law against reckless driving. It makes it a misdemeanor to drive:

  1. On a highway or in an off-street parking facility, and
  2. With a wanton disregard for the safety of people or property. 15

1.1. The legal definition of “highway” and “off-street parking facility”

For purposes of VC 23103, a “highway” is any area (such as a street) that is publicly maintained and open to the public for purposes of vehicular travel.

An “off-street parking facility” is a parking area open for use by the public for parking vehicles. It includes:

  • Publicly owned facilities, and
  • Privately owned facilities open to retail customers, where no fee is charged for parking.16

Privately owned parking facilities not open to the public -- such as employee parking lots – are not covered by VC 23103.

1.2. What is a “wanton disregard” for safety?

Under California law, a person acts with a wanton disregard for safety when:

  • He or she is aware that his or her actions present a substantial and unjustifiable risk of harm, and
  • He or she intentionally ignores that risk. 17

The person does not have to intend to cause damage to be guilty under VC 23103.18

Also speeding does not, by itself, prove that the defendant was reckless.

Speed is just one factor the jury can consider in deciding whether the defendant drove with a wanton disregard for safety. 19

2. The penalty for reckless driving in California

The penalty for the California crime of reckless driving generally depends on whether anyone was injured.

If no one other than the driver was injured, or was only mildly injured, VC 23013 is a misdemeanor.

But if a third party is seriously injured, reckless driving can often be charged as a felony.

Third parties include:

  • Passenger's in the reckless driver's car,
  • People in other vehicles, and

Let's take a closer look at each of the situations in which someone might be charged under VC 23103 and related sections.

2.1. No one other than the reckless driver is injured

If no third party was injured, violation of VC 23103 is a misdemeanor. It can be punished by:

  • Five (5) to ninety (90) days in county jail, and/or
  • A fine of between $145 and $1,000. 20

Or it can be punished by misdemeanor probation. This would typically be the sentence for a first offense.

If sentenced to probation, a misdemeanor defendant will probably spend no time in jail.

But he or she will have to comply with certain conditions, such as community service and staying out of trouble with the law.

2.2. When a minor injury results

Reckless driving is punished more severely when someone other than the driver gets injured.

Penalties for causing minor bodily injury to a third party are:

  • Between 30 days and six (6) months in county jail, and/or
  • A fine of between $220 and $1,000. 21
Two paramedics in protective vests helping seriously injured man on stretcher
Causing a serious injury by driving recklessly can lead to felony charges in California

2.3. When serious injury results

When reckless driving causes a serious injury to a third party, it becomes a California “wobbler” offense. A wobbler is a crime that can be punished as a misdemeanor or a felony in the prosecutor's discretion.

There are two specific situations that turn reckless driving into a wobbler offense:

  1. It results in any of a list of specific serious injuries,22 or
  2. It causes any great bodily injury AND the defendant has a prior conviction for:

Let's take a closer look at each of these situations.

2.3.1. Vehicle Code 23105 -- reckless driving resulting in specific serious injuries

Reckless driving is a “wobbler” offense if it causes any of the following injuries to a third party:

  1. Loss of consciousness,
  2. A concussion,
  3. A bone fracture,
  4. A protracted loss or impairment of function of a bodily member or organ,
  5. A wound requiring extensive suturing,
  6. A serious disfigurement,
  7. Brain injury, or
  8. 23
Penalties under VC 23105

As a misdemeanor, reckless driving causing serious bodily injury can be punished by:

  • Between 30 days and six (6) months in county jail, and/or
  • A fine of between $220 and $1,000. 24

If prosecuted as a felony, it can be punished by:

  • 16 months or two (2) years or three (3) years in county jail, and
  • A fine of up to $10,000. 25

2.3.2. Punishment when defendant has certain prior driving convictions

Reckless driving becomes a wobbler offense when:

  1. It causes “great bodily injury” to a third party, AND
  2. The defendant has a prior conviction for:
The legal definition of “great bodily injury”

For purposes of reckless driving with priors, “great bodily injury” is defined as “a significant or substantial physical injury.”27

This includes the injuries set forth in Vehicle Code 23015 (b). But “great bodily injury” is not necessarily limited to those injuries.

Any physical injury that might be considered significant or substantial can lead to a felony reckless driving charge for someone with a prior conviction.

2.3.3. Penalties for reckless driving with priors

If charged as a misdemeanor, the punishment for reckless driving (with priors) causing great bodily injury is:

  • Between 30 days and six (6) months in county jail, and/or
  • A fine of between $220 and $1,000. 28

If charged as a felony, it can result in a sentence of:

  • 16 months or two (2) years or three (3) years in county jail, and
  • A fine of up to $10,000. 29
Watchtower and barbed wire fence at California prison
If charged as manslaughter or “Watson” murder, reckless driving can result in a long term in California state prison

2.4. Manslaughter or murder charges for reckless driving

When a third party is killed as the result of someone's reckless driving, a prosecutor might charge VC 23104(b) or VC 23105.

But the prosecutor might also charge the defendant with a “straight” felony. A “straight” felony is one that cannot be reduced to a misdemeanor.

The most common straight felonies charged in reckless driving cases are:

Let's take a closer look at each of these two charges

2.4.1. Vehicular manslaughter, Penal Code 192(c)

California's “vehicular manslaughter” law is Penal Code 192(c). It can be charged when a defendant's criminal negligence behind the wheel results in the death of a third party.

In a reckless driving case, the prosecutor would accuse the defendant of vehicular manslaughter with “gross negligence.”

Gross negligence is greater than ordinary negligence (but not quite as bad as reckless driving).

Penalties for vehicular manslaughter

PC 192(c) with gross negligence is a wobbler offense. But since reckless driving is more dangerous than negligence, the prosecutor would most likely charge PC 192(c) as a felony.

As a felony, vehicular manslaughter carries potential penalties of:

  • Two (2), four (4) or six (6) years in California state prison, and/or
  • A fine of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000).32

2.4.2. “Watson” murder, Penal Code 187, for reckless driving

So-called “Watson Murder” is a form of Penal Code 187 second-degree murder. It is named for a California Supreme Court case holding that murder charges can be filed in a DUI case.33

Historically, Watson Murder was most often charged when someone with prior DUI convictions killed another person while driving drunk. So it is sometimes referred to as “DUI murder.”

But California prosecutors are increasingly charging Watson Murder in reckless driving cases that do not involve DUI.

It is usually charged when:

  • The defendant has prior convictions for reckless driving, speed contests and/or DUI, or
  • The defendant had special knowledge that should have made him or her aware of the dangers of reckless driving, or
  • The defendant's driving exhibited an exceptional disregard for human life.

Example: Sal works as a paramedic. On his Sunday off, he visits a friend in his old neighborhood. While there he decides to take place in a “speed contest.”

The contest takes place as people in the neighborhood are leaving church. Sal steps on the gas to try to get his car past the crowd and keep from losing. As he does, a little boy runs into the street. Sal cannot brake in time. His car strikes the child and kills him.

The prosecutor charges Sal with second-degree murder. She says that as a paramedic, Sal knew the dangers of reckless driving in a residential neighborhood.34

The elements of “Watson” murder

Penal Code 187, second-degree murder, can be charged when:

  • Someone commits an intentional act (such as driving recklessly) that results in someone's death;
  • The natural consequences of that act are dangerous to human life; and
  • The person knowingly acts with conscious disregard for that danger.35

The person does not have to intend to cause the other person's death. It is enough that the person intended to drive in a reckless manner.

The penalties for PC 187 “Watson” murder

Penalties for Watson Murder can include 15 years to life in prison.36

And if the victim is a peace officer, the possible sentence increases to 25 years to life.37

Girl with dark, spiky hair standing on freeway with video camera
Participating in reckless driving with the intent to record it can result in a jail sentence of up to three years under California Vehicle Code 40008 VC

2.5. Making a recording of reckless driving (Vehicle Code 40008)

Even if no one is injured, the penalty for reckless driving increases if it is done with the intent to record it for a commercial purpose. Such recordings can include any type of:

  • Visual image,
  • Sound recording, or
  • Other physical impression of another person. 38

Driving recklessly with the intent to record it is a misdemeanor. It is usually punished by:

  • Up to six (6) months in county jail, and/or
  • A fine of up to $2,500. 39

But if a minor child is endangered as a result, the maximum punishment increases to:

  • Up to one (1) year in county jail, and/or
  • A fine of up to $5,000. 40

Only one punishment for both reckless driving AND recording it

In some cases, a defendant might be convicted of both VC 23103 and of intent to record it.

But the defendant can only be punished for the crime with the longer possible punishment – in this case, the recording. 41

Or the defendant might only be charged with one crime but not the other. But if so, he or she may not thereafter be charged under the other law, regardless of whether the defendant is found guilty or not guilty, or pleads guilty or “no contest.” 42

Example: Ned decides to record himself driving the wrong way on the freeway for his subscription social media channel. Fortunately, no one is hurt as a result.

But Ned is arrested for his stunt. He is initially charged with both VC 23103 reckless driving and VC 48000 trying to record it.

VC 23103 carries a maximum sentence of 90 days. VC 40008 carries a maximum sentence of six months.

Let's take a look at how this might play out.

Scenario #1:

Ned's California criminal defense lawyer persuades the prosecutor to drop the VC 40008 charge in exchange for Ned pleading guilty to VC 23010.

Ned is given 30 days in jail and order to pay a $500 fine. The prosecutor cannot later charge Ned with VC 40008.

Scenario #2:

The prosecutor charges Ned with both VC 23103 and VC 48000. Ned is tried in a California jury trial and found guilty on both counts.

Ned can only be punished under VC 48000 because it carries the longer possible sentence. He cannot receive a separate sentence for the reckless driving.

Scenario #3:

This time let's say that the case moves forward to jury trial on both charges. The jury finds Ned guilty of reckless driving, but not of trying to record it. Ned is sentenced to just 15 days in jail and a fine of $500.

The prosecutor cannot later charge Ned with VC 40008 based on the same incident.

Bearded young man smiling and clenching fists in celebration
Someone acquitted of trying to record reckless driving cannot later be charged with reckless driving under California Vehicle Code 23013

3. Collateral consequences of a reckless driving conviction

3.1. Points on California DMV record

A reckless driving conviction adds two (2) points to a driver's California DMV driving record. 43

The DMV can suspend a driver's non-commercial license if the driver accumulates:

  • 4 or more points in 12 months,
  • 6 points in 24 months, or
  • 8 points in 36 months. 44

3.2. VC 23103 is a “priorable” offense in future reckless driving cases

A reckless driving conviction will count as a conviction in any future proceedings for reckless driving.

This can make it more likely for the defendant to be charged with a felony if arrested for reckless driving as a “wobbler” offense. (See Section 2.3., above).

But it is not a “priorable” offense if the defendant is later arrested for a DUI. 45 This is just one reason why a so-called California “dry reckless” plea bargain is so desirable in a California DUI case.

3.3. Increased insurance premiums

A reckless driving conviction may increase the driver's automobile insurance premiums or result in cancellation of the policy.

But it is still less serious than having a DUI on one's record.

Bearded young man in tank top seated at desk and holding hand to his head in shock as he looks at his auto insurance bill
A conviction for reckless driving under California Vehicle Code 23013 can result in increased car, truck or motorcycle insurance premiums

4. Legal defenses to reckless driving

There are a number of defenses an experienced California criminal lawyer can use to defend against reckless driving charges.

Three of the most common defenses to VC 23103, 23104 and 23105 are:

The defendant was not the driver

In order to be guilty of reckless driving, the defendant must have driven the vehicle.

This can be difficult to do if the police did not catch the defendant in the act of driving.

For instance, the police may have come across an accident scene at which the defendant was present. This does not necessarily mean the defendant was the driver.

The prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant actually drove.

The defendant did not drive recklessly

Reckless driving requires more than mere negligence or irresponsible driving. 46

To be found guilty the defendant must have intentionally done something either:

  • With an intentional lack of regard concerning the safety of others, or
  • With the knowledge that serious injury would be the probable (as distinguished from a possible) result.47

Even gross negligence is insufficient to support a charge of reckless driving.48

The prosecutor has the burden of proving that the defendant was more than merely negligent.

The defendant drove recklessly out of necessity

Necessity is a valid defense to Vehicle Code 23013 charges. This defense is sometimes referred to as the “lesser of two evils.”

To plead the necessity defense in a reckless driving case the defendant will usually need to prove each of the following:

  1. The defendant drove recklessly in an emergency to prevent a significant bodily harm or evil to him- / herself or someone else;
  2. The defendant had no adequate legal alternative;
  3. The defendant's driving did not create a greater danger than the one avoided;
  4. The defendant actually believed that driving recklessly was necessary to prevent the threatened harm or evil;
  5. A reasonable person would also have believed that driving recklessly was necessary under the circumstances; and
  6. The defendant did not substantially contribute to the emergency. 49

The defendant has the burden of proving the necessity defense by a preponderance of the evidence.

In other words, that defendant must prove that it is more likely than not that each of the six items listed above is true.

The injury to the victim was not serious

This legal defense might apply when a defendant is charged with VC 23104(b) or VC 23105.

In order for those code sections to apply, the injury needs to be:

  • A specific serious injury (for VC 23105), or
  • An injury that is a “great bodily injury.”

In borderline cases, an experienced California defense lawyer may be able to persuade the prosecutor that the injury was not that serious.

This may result in a charge being:

  • Changed to VC 23103, or
  • Reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor.

5. Related offenses to Vehicle Code 23013

5.1. Speed contest / exhibition of speed

California Vehicle Code 23109(a) makes it a crime to willfully participate in a speed contest.

Also known as an “exhibition of speed,” a “speed contest” is defined as a race against:

  • Another vehicle, or
  • A clock or other timing device.50

If no one is injured, a speed contest is a misdemeanor. Punishment for a speed contest can include:

  • 24 hours to 90 days in jail,
  • A fine of between $355 and $1,000,
  • Forty (40) hours of community service; and/or
  • The suspension restriction of the driver's license for anywhere from 90 days to 6 months.51

5.2. Driving under the influence

California's two main DUI laws are:

They make it a crime to drive if the driver:

For more information, we invite you to visit our California DUI laws homepage or browse our A-Z library of California DUI offenses.

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Call us at 855-LawFirm to discuss your case in person, by phone or email with one of our experienced California criminal and DUI lawyers.

We have local criminal law offices in and around Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, San Jose, Oakland, the San Francisco Bay area, and several nearby cities.

We also have offices in Reno and Las Vegas to serve you if you have been charged with reckless driving in Nevada.


Legal References:

  1. California Vehicle Code 23103 VC:

    “(a): A person who drives a vehicle upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.

    (b)  A person who drives a vehicle in an offstreet parking facility, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 12500, in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.”

  2. Vehicle Code 23103(c): “Except as otherwise provided in Section 40008, persons convicted of the offense of reckless driving shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than five days nor more than 90 days or by a fine of not less than one hundred forty-five dollars ($145) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment, except as provided in Section 23104 or 23105.”
  3. California Vehicle Code 23104 (a) VC: “Except as provided in subdivision (b), whenever reckless driving of a vehicle proximately causes bodily injury to a person other than the driver, the person driving the vehicle shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 30 days nor more than six months or by a fine of not less than two hundred twenty dollars ($220) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment.”
  4. California Vehicle Code 12810(b) VC.
  5. California Vehicle Code 23104 (a), endnote 3.
  6. Vehicle Code 23104 (b): “A person convicted of reckless driving that proximately causes great bodily injury, as defined in Section 12022.7 of the Penal Code, to a person other than the driver, who previously has been convicted of a violation of Section 23103 [reckless driving], 23104 [reckless driving causing bodily injury], 23105 [reckless driving causing serious injury], 23109 [speed contest], 23109.1 [speed contest causing injury], 23152 [DUI per se], or 23153 [DUI], shall be punished by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code, by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 30 days nor more than six months or by a fine of not less than two hundred twenty dollars ($220) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or by both the fine and imprisonment.”

    Vehicle Code 23105 (a): “A person convicted of reckless driving in violation of Section 23103 that proximately causes one or more of the injuries specified in subdivision (b) to a person other than the driver, shall be punished by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code, or by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than 30 days nor more than six months, or by a fine of not less than two hundred twenty dollars ($220) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment.

    (b) This section applies to all of the following injuries:

    (1) A loss of consciousness.

    (2) A concussion.

    (3) A bone fracture.

    (4) A protracted loss or impairment of function of a bodily member or organ.

    (5) A wound requiring extensive suturing.

    (6) A serious disfigurement.

    (7) Brain injury.

    (8) Paralysis.

    (c) This section does not preclude or prohibit prosecution under any other provision of law.”

  7. Vehicle Code 23105, endnote 6.
  8. Vehicle Code 23104 (b), endnote 6.
  9. See Vehicle Code 23105(b), endnote 6.
  10. Vehicle Code 23104 (b) and Vehicle Code 23105, endnote 6.
  11. Penal Code 192: “Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice. It is of three kinds:

    … (c) Vehicular—

    (1) Except as provided in subdivision (a) of Section 191.5, driving a vehicle in the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony, and with gross negligence; or driving a vehicle in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death, in an unlawful manner, and with gross negligence.

    (2) Driving a vehicle in the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony, but without gross negligence; or driving a vehicle in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death, in an unlawful manner, but without gross negligence.

    (3) Driving a vehicle in connection with a violation of paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) of Section 550, where the vehicular collision or vehicular accident was knowingly caused for financial gain and proximately resulted in the death of any person. This paragraph does not prevent prosecution of a defendant for the crime of murder.”

  12. Penal Code 187(a): “Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought."

    See also People v. Watson (1981) 30 Cal.3d 290.

  13. Penal Code 193(c): “Vehicular manslaughter is punishable as follows:

    (1) A violation of paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 192 is punishable either by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year or by imprisonment in the state prison for two, four, or six years.

    (2) A violation of paragraph (2) of subdivision (c) of Section 192 is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year.

    (3) A violation of paragraph (3) of subdivision (c) of Section 192 is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 4, 6, or 10 years.”

  14. Penal Code 190(a).
  15. California Vehicle Code 23103, endnote 1.

    See also California Criminal Jury Instructions (CALCRIM) 2200. Reckless Driving: “To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must prove that:

    1. The defendant drove a vehicle (on a highway/in an off-street parking facility); AND
    2. The defendant intentionally drove with wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”
  16. Vehicle Code 12500 (c).
  17. See notes to CALCRIM 2200, endnote 15.
  18. Same.
  19. Same.
  20. Vehicle Code 23103(c), endnote 2.
  21. Vehicle Code 23104 (a), endnote 3.
  22. Vehicle Code 23105 (a), endnote 6.
  23. Vehicle Code 23015 (b), endnote 6.
  24. Vehicle Code 23105 (a), endnote 6.
  25. Same.

    See also Penal Code 1170 (h) PC [jail sentence for felonies].

    See also Penal Code 672 PC: “Upon a conviction for any crime punishable by imprisonment in any jail or prison, in relation to which no fine is herein prescribed, the court may impose a fine on the offender not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000) in cases of misdemeanors or ten thousand dollars ($10,000) in cases of felonies, in addition to the imprisonment prescribed.”

  26. Penal Code 23104(b), endnote 6.
  27. Penal Code 12022.7 (f).
  28. Penal Code 23104(b), endnote 6.
  29. Same. See also Penal Code 672 PC, endnote 25.
  30. Penal Code 192: “Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice. It is of three kinds:

    … (c) Vehicular—

    (1) Except as provided in subdivision (a) of Section 191.5, driving a vehicle in the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony, and with gross negligence; or driving a vehicle in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death, in an unlawful manner, and with gross negligence.

    (2) Driving a vehicle in the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony, but without gross negligence; or driving a vehicle in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death, in an unlawful manner, but without gross negligence.

    (3) Driving a vehicle in connection with a violation of paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) of Section 550, where the vehicular collision or vehicular accident was knowingly caused for financial gain and proximately resulted in the death of any person. This paragraph does not prevent prosecution of a defendant for the crime of murder.”

  31. Penal Code 187(a): “Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought."

    See also People v. Watson (1981), endnote 12.

  32. Penal Code 193(c), endnote 12.
  33. People v. Watson, endnote 12.
  34. See “EMT faces steep penalty in fatal Long Beach DUI crash,” Press-Telegram, August 15, 2013. Although the charge related to DUI-murder, the same logic can be applied to cases of reckless driving.
  35. Judicial Council Of California Criminal Jury Instruction 520 -- Murder With Malice Aforethought: “The defendant acted with implied malice if: [1] (He/She) intentionally committed an act; [2] The natural and probable consequences of the act were dangerous to human life; [3] At the time (he/she) acted, (he/she) knew (his/her) act was dangerous to human life; AND [4] (He/She) deliberately acted with conscious disregard for (human/ [or] fetal) life.")
  36. Penal Code 190(a).
  37. Penal Code 190(b).
  38. Vehicle Code 40008 VC:

    “(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, except as otherwise provided in subdivision (c), any person who violates Section 21701, Vehicle Code 21703, or 23103, with the intent to capture any type of visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression of another person for a commercial purpose, is guilty of a misdemeanor and not an infraction and shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than six months and by a fine of not more than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500).

    (b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, except as otherwise provided in subdivision (c), any person who violates Section 21701, 21703, or 23103, with the intent to capture any type of visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression of another person for a commercial purpose and who causes a minor child or children to be placed in a situation in which the child's person or health is endangered, is guilty of a misdemeanor and not an infraction and shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year and by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000).

    (c) Pursuant to Section 654 of the Penal Code, an act or omission described in subdivision (a) or (b) that is punishable in different ways by different provisions of law shall be punished under the provision that provides for the longest potential term of imprisonment, but in no case shall the act or omission be punished under more than one provision. An acquittal or conviction and sentence under any one provision bars a prosecution for the same act or omission under any other provision.”

  39. Vehicle Code 40008 (a), endnote 38.
  40. Vehicle Code 40008 (b), endnote 38.
  41. Vehicle Code 40008 (c), endnote 38.
  42. Same.
  43. Vehicle Code Section 12810(c).
  44. Vehicle Code Section 12810.5.
  45. Vehicle Code 23540 VC.
  46. People v. Young (1942) 20 Cal.2d 832.
  47. People v. Allison (1951) 101 Cal.App.2d Supp.

    932.

  48. Same. See also People v. McNutt (1940) 40 Cal.App.2d Supp. 835
  49. CALCRIM No. 3403. Necessity.
  50. Vehicle Code 23109(a).
  51. Vehicle Code 23109(e)(1).

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Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

To contact us, please select your state:

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370