Vehicular Homicide in Georgia is a tragic crime that carries harsh consequences. When someone dies as the result of a traffic infraction, the result is a vehicular homicide criminal case.
Vehicular homicide can either be a misdemeanor or a felony. Vehicular Homicide in the 1st degree is when someone who, without malice aforethought, causes the death of an individual while at the same time committing other certain offenses. These offenses, below, coupled with the death of an individual, will upgrade the charge to a felony:
- Passing a school bus
- Reckless Driving
- Fleeing or attempting to elude
- Hit and Run
- While license is suspended due to Habitual Violator Status
Misdemeanor Vehicular Homicide, known as Vehicle Homicide in the 2nd degree, is defined by causing the death of another, without an intention to do so, while violating any other traffic offense in Title 40. (See O.C.G.A. § 40-6-393). These traffic violations may include, for example, failure to maintain lane, running a red light, improper turn, or speeding. Any traffic offense (other than the ones in the bullet points above), which causes the death of another, will result in a Vehicular Homicide charge in the 2nd degree.
In both felony and misdemeanor Vehicular Homicide cases, Georgia law requires that the State prove that the driver’s conduct was a substantial factor in the “proximate cause” of the death. This means that under Georgia law, sometimes the victim’s own negligence will not be relevant. This is where the defense can lie. Vehicular homicide cases involve intensive investigation phases for the Defense. The defense may need accident reconstruction experts to quickly determine how and why an accident occurred.
What is the sentence if convicted of Vehicular Homicide?
On a felony Vehicular Homicide, the sentence carried 3 to 15 years in prison on this one charge. If, for example, there were also convictions for misdemeanor offenses, like speeding, from the same accident, the Judge could sentence those consecutively making the prison time much longer.
If convicted of a Vehicular Homicide in the 2nd degree, it is a misdemeanor offense, and the maximum penalty is 12 months in jail and/or a base fine of $1,000.
The Georgia Department of Driver Services will also act to suspend your license on a conviction for Vehicular Homicide. If convicted of a misdemeanor homicide by vehicle, Georgia will suspend your license for a minimum period of 120 days. On a misdemeanor, a limited permit may be available. On a felony homicide by vehicle conviction, Georgia will suspend your license for a period of three years.
If you or a loved one has been charged with Vehicular Homicide anywhere in the State of Georgia, call us today for a FREE CONSULTATION at 404-581-0999. The team of attorneys at W. Scott Smith PC are ready to aggressively defend you in your utmost time of need.