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Prosecutors weighing a misdemeanor manslaughter charge against Caitlyn Jenner are trying to determine whether her negligence caused a fatal car crash earlier this year, a legal analyst told TODAY on Friday.
While Jenner did not violate speed limits, according to investigators, authorities will consider whether she exercised proper caution under the wet and rainy traffic conditions existing at the time, said MSNBC legal analyst Ari Melber.
“That is the legal standard in this case — was there negligence?” he said.
The collision occurred February in California, where investigators determined unsafe driving led to the chain-reaction crash that killed a woman. Jenner's speed may have been a factor in the crash, officials told NBC News. Authorities are now weighing a misdemeanor manslaughter charge against Jenner.
"The District Attorney's Office will determine what, if any, charges will be filed in this case, or if there will be a request for further investigation," the Los Angeles County Sheriff said in a statement.
Melber said it could be difficult for prosecutors to prove Jenner guilty of breaking a law, which is why they are considering a misdemeanor charge that could result up to a year in jail.
“Accidents are a bad thing, and people know that, but the law cares a lot more about whether you had a bad intention, a bad goal, than just you got caught up in a bad thing,” he said.
But even if found guilty, it is unlikely Jenner would face actual time in a county jail.
“In most of these kind of car accidents, when there is only negligence or less, people don’t go to jail at all,” he said.
If criminal charges are filed, it would probably have a bigger impact on the two civil lawsuits she is facing because of the accident. Civil trials have lower standards, so her lawyer may decide to settle if she is charged with a misdemeanor, Melber said.
“If you are anywhere in the ballpark of criminal charges, you probably are going to fare worse in that civil standard,” he said.
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