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M. Quasi-offenses

1. Imprudence and negligence

a. Reckless imprudence

RECKLESS IMPRUDENCE: Reckless imprudence consists in voluntary, but without malice, doing or falling to do an act from which material damage results by reason of inexcusable lack of precaution on the part of the person performing of failing to perform such act, taking into consideration his employment or occupation, degree of intelligence, physical condition and other circumstances regarding persons, time and place. (Paragraph 7, Article 365, Ibid)

ELEMENTS:

1) That the offender does or fails to do an act;

2) That the doing or the failure to do that act is voluntary;

3) That it be without malice;

4) That material damage results from the reckless imprudence; and,

5) That there is inexcusable lack of precaution on the part of the offender, taking into consideration his employment or occupation, degree of intelligence, physical condition, and other circumstances regarding persons, time and place. (Valencia v. People, G.R. No. 235573, 09 November 2020)

MOTORIST’S LIAILITY: To establish a motorist’s liability for negligence, the prosecution must show the “direct causal connection between such negligence and the injuries or damages complained of.” Mere negligence in driving a vehicle is not enough to constitute reckless driving. Rather, it must be shown that the motorist acted willfully and wantonly, in utter disregard of the consequence of his or her action as it is the “inexcusable lack of precaution or conscious indifference to the consequences of the conduct which supplies the criminal intent and brings an act of mere negligence and imprudence under the operation of the penal law. (Ibid.)

b. Simple imprudence or negligence

SIMPLE IMPRUDENCE: Simple imprudence consists in the lack of precaution displayed in those cases in which the damage impending to be caused is not immediate nor the danger clearly manifest. (Paragraph 8, Article 365, Ibid)

ELEMENTS

1) That there is lack of precaution on the part of the offender; and,

2) That the damage impending to be caused is not immediate or the danger is not clearly manifest. (Gaid v. People, G.R. No. 171636, 07 April 2009)

TEST: The standard test in determining whether a person is negligent in doing an act whereby injury or damage results to the person or property of another is this: could a prudent man, in the position of the person to whom negligence is attributed, foresee harm to the person injured as a reasonable consequence of the course actually pursued? If so, the law imposes a duty on the actor to refrain from that course or to take precautions to guard against its mischievous results, and the failure to do so constitutes negligence. Reasonable foresight of harm, followed by the ignoring of the admonition born of this provision, is always necessary before negligence can be held to exist. (Ibid.)

MOTORIST’S LIABILITY: In order to establish a motorist’s liability for the negligent operation of a vehicle, it must be shown that there was a direct causal connection between such negligence and the injuries or damages complained of. Thus, negligence that is not a substantial contributing factor in the causation of the accident is not the proximate cause of an injury. (Ibid.)

c. Imprudence resulting in damage to property

ELEMENTS:

1) That the offender has done or failed to do an act;

2) That the act is voluntary;

3) That the same is without malice;

4) That material damage results; and,

5) That there has been inexcusable lack of precaution on the part of the offender. (Caminos v. People, G.R. No. 147437, 08 May 2009)

INEXCUSABLE LACK OF PRECAUTION; CONSCIOUS INDIFFERENCE: Among the elements constitutive of the offense, what perhaps is most central to a finding of guilt is the conclusive determination that the accused has exhibited, by his voluntary act without malice, an inexcusable lack of precaution because it is that which supplies the criminal intent so indispensable as to bring an act of mere negligence and imprudence under the operation of the penal law. This, because a conscious indifference to the consequences of the conduct is all that that is required from the standpoint of the frame of mind of the accused,  that is, without regard to whether the private offended party may himself be considered likewise at fault. (Ibid.)

RATE OF SPEED; PRESUMPTION: Rate of speed, in connection with other circumstances, is one of the principal considerations in determining whether a motorist has been reckless in driving an automobile, and evidence of the extent of the damage caused may show the force of the impact from which the rate of speed of the vehicle may be modestly inferred. While an adverse inference may be gathered with respect to reckless driving  from proof of excessive speed under the circumstances, such proof raises the presumption of imprudent driving which may be overcome by evidence, or, as otherwise stated, shifts the burden of proof so as to require the accused to show that under the circumstances he was not driving in a careless or imprudent manner. (Ibid.)

d. Fines and penalties

In the imposition of these penalties, the court shall exercise their sound discretion, without regard to the rules prescribed in Article sixty-four. (Paragraph 5, Article 365, Ibid)

PENALTY FOR RECKLESS IMPRUDENCE:

1) Arresto mayor in its maximum period to prisión correccional in its medium period

2) Arresto mayor in its minimum and medium periods – if it would have constituted a less grave felony

3) Arresto menor in its maximum period – if it would have constituted a light felony

4) Penalty next higher in degree – if the offender fails to lend on the spot to the injured parties such help as may be in his hands to give.

PENALTY FOR SIMPLE IMPRUDENCE OR NEGLIGENCE:

1) Arresto mayor in its medium and maximum periods

2) Arresto mayor in its minimum period– if it would have constituted a less serious felony

3) Fine ranging from an amount equal to the value of said damages to three (3) times such value, but which shall in no case be Less than Five thousand pesos (₱5,000) – if the execution of the act covered by this article shall have only resulted in damage to the property of another

5) Fine not exceeding Forty thousand pesos (₱40,000) and censure – if a person, by simple imprudence or negligence, causes some wrong which, if done maliciously, would have constituted a light felony

6) Penalty next higher in degree – if the offender fails to lend on the spot to the injured parties such help as may be in his hands to give.

PENALTY FOR IMPRUDENCE RESULTING IN DAMAGE TO PROPERTY: Fine ranging from an amount equal to the value of said damages to three (3) times such value, but which shall in no case be Less than Five thousand pesos (₱5,000)

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