Vehicular homicide, sometimes known as vehicular manslaughter, occurs when a driver causes the death of another person using their motor vehicle. Despite the name, you do not need to have intended to kill someone to be charged with vehicular homicide. In fact, vehicular homicide commonly occurs as the result of gross negligence on the driver's part - for example, driving while distracted or failing to acknowledge traffic laws.The Best Defense is a Timely One
Under Georgia law, vehicular homicide is treated as a serious criminal matter. Vehicular homicide can be a felony or misdemeanor charge, depending on the details of your case. You don't want to leave that choice up to the prosecutors. If you have been charged with vehicular homicide in Georgia, you will need the help of a criminal defense attorney to make sure you have adequate protection. That is why you should contact the Don Turner Legal Team.
Our legal team has years of experience working with vehicular homicide cases and our criminal defense lawyers are extremely effective when representing our clients. Even if you have been charged with vehicular homicide, it doesn’t mean you are guilty. Someone else losing their life is a terrible thing, but that does not necessarily mean you were responsible for it. In fact, if you were not impaired, and you were not found responsible for the accident, then you did not commit vehicular homicide.
Contact our law office today to discuss the details of your criminal case and get a better understanding of where you stand.What are the Penalties for Vehicular Homicide?
You can be charged with first-degree vehicular homicide, which is a felony, if you were driving under the influence or committing one of these serious traffic violations:
- Overtaking and passing a school bus
- Reckless driving
- Hit and run
- Fleeing a police officer.
The penalty for felony vehicular homicide is a prison sentence between three and fifteen years. However, if you have been declared a habitual violator - someone who has been charged with three or more serious traffic offenses in the space of five years - and you commit felony vehicular homicide, you could be facing between five and twenty years in prison.
In most cases, any other traffic violation that leads to the death of another will result in a charge of second-degree vehicular homicide, which is a misdemeanor. The penalty for misdemeanor vehicular homicide in Georgia is up to a year of jail time, a fine of $1,000, or both.
Finally, a vehicular homicide conviction will lead to your driver's license being suspended. If you are charged with misdemeanor vehicular homicide, your license will be suspended for a maximum of twelve months. A felony charge can lead to it being suspended for three years.How can You Defend Against a Vehicular Homicide Charge?
If you are charged with vehicular homicide, the state has to prove causation. This means that the prosecution has to show a clear cause and effect relationship between the victim's death and the defendant's conduct. Correlation does not imply causation - just because you were involved does not mean that you are automatically at fault.
For example, if the state has charged you with a DUI, then they have to prove that the underlying traffic offense was directly responsible for the other person's death. The state also has to prove that the deceased did not do anything that could have contributed to their own death. If they cannot establish a direct causal relationship, then they cannot charge you with vehicular homicide.