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Vehicular homicide Italy

Vehicular homicide Italy: a new criminal offence

Vehicular homicide in Italy is governed by Article 589 bis of the Criminal Code, as separate criminal offence introduced by the new law no. 41 dated March 23rd 2016 on vehicular homicide.

In accordance with the mentioned provisions, a motor vehicle driver, whose negligent behaviour is the cause of the fatal event, is punishable.

The penalty provided for this offence is imprisonment, its entity is determined according to the degree of the negligence.

The crime at issue, by now subject to a separate regulation, differs from manslaughter which is otherwise covered by Article 589 of the Criminal Code.

Vehicular homicide Italy: penalty and aggravating factors

By Article 589 bis of the Criminal Code, vehicular homicide in Italy is subject to three different sanction schemes, namely:

- imprisonment from 2 to 7 years, if death should occur as consequence of violation of the traffic code;

- imprisonment from 8 to 12 years, to whom causes an individual's death under the influence of drugs or severely under the influence of alcohol, i.e. with a blood-alcohol content exceeding 1.5 grams per litre (g/l);

- imprisonment from 5 to 10 years, if the murderer is under a slighter influence of alcohol (i.e. blood-alcohol content exceeding 0.8 grams per litre) or caused the accident as a result of dangerous behaviour (i.e. speeding, overtaking, dangerous U-turn, driving on the wrong side of the road and breaches at traffic lights).

The above mentioned assumptions remain unchanged but subject to different penalties whenever the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs and causes injuries, more particularly:

- from 3 to 5 years for serious injuries;

- from 4 to 7 years for extremely serious injuries;

- from 1 year 6 months to 3 years for serious injuries caused by driving under the influence of alcohol (limit of 0.8 g/l) or harmful driving, from 2 to 4 years for extremely serious injuries.

For whom professionally undertakes activity of transportation of persons or goods (truckers or bus drivers), in the circumstances under consideration, the most serious assumption of vehicle manslaughter will be applied, even if the blood-alcohol content is exceeding 0.8 g/l.

In the event that the driver flees away after  the car accident, the penalty increases from one third to two thirds and cannot be less than 5 years for homicide, and 3 years for injuries.

Additional aggravating factors are considered in case of death or injuries of more than one person or if driving without licence or insurance.

On the contrary, penalty is reduced into even half in case the car accident is not only consequence of the sole offender's action.

Vehicular homicide Italy: can one loses his licence?

As a consequence of a vehicle homicide, the offender's driving licence will be automatically revoked in case ofconviction or plea bargain for homicide or road injuries. The driving licence may be obtained again after 15 years in case of homicide and after 5 years in case of injuries. 

With the Law under exam, regulation terms have also been increased and mandatory arrest in case of flagrante delicto has been introduced, in the most serious scenario. For the less serious cases, arrest is optional. Moreover, the court may order ex officio the enforced collection of biological samples to determine the DNA.

Do you wish to receive further information on vehicle manslaughter in Italy or have you been victim of a road crime with injuries? Contact us.