Balsley v. State

In Balsley v. State, 668 P.2d 1324 (Wyo. 1983), the Court analyzed a prior version of the statute. At that time, homicide by vehicle was committed by "whoever, except when the violation of law involves culpable neglect or criminal carelessness, unlawfully and unintentionally, but with a conscious disregard of the safety of others, causes the death of another person while engaged in the violation of any state law or ordinance applying to the operation or use of a vehicle or to the regulation of traffic, except those laws or ordinances relating to conduct set forth in subsection (a) aggravated vehicular homicide . . .." (Balsley, 668 P.2d at 1325.) The aggravated vehicular homicide statute provided that "whoever, while driving any vehicle under the influence of either intoxicating liquor or a controlled substance, or a combination of both, to a degree which renders him incapable of safely driving a vehicle, causes the death of another person shall be guilty of aggravated homicide by vehicle . . .." Id. The appellant in Balsley was charged with what is now "under the influence" aggravated vehicular homicide. Id. at 1324. The state offered a lesser-included offense instruction based essentially on what is now reckless aggravated vehicular homicide, which the district court accepted, and the appellant was convicted of the putative lesser-included offense. Id. at 1325-27. The Court reversed, finding that the elements of the two offenses were not sufficiently identical for the putative lesser-included offense to qualify as such. Id. at 1327-29.