You have been charged in Georgia with Vehicular Homicide or Serious Injury by Vehicle. There is no way to describe in detail everything that needs to be done in order to reach a successful outcome for a client charged with Vehicular Homicide or Serious Injury by Vehicle in Georgia. As with every type of Georgia criminal defense case, each case is unique, and there will never be a one size fits all recommendation on how to proceed.
Vehicular Homicide in Georgia provides:
“(a) Any person who, without malice aforethought, causes the death of another person through the violation of subsection (a) of Code Section 40-6-163, Code Section 40-6-390 or 40-6-391, or subsection (a) of Code Section 40-6-395 commits the offense of homicide by vehicle in the first degree and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than three years nor more than 15 years.
(b) Any driver of a motor vehicle who, without malice aforethought, causes an accident which causes the death of another person and leaves the scene of the accident in violation of subsection (b) of Code Section 40-6-270 commits the offense of homicide by vehicle in the first degree and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than three years nor more than 15 years.
(c) Any person who causes the death of another person, without an intention to do so, by violating any provision of this title other than subsection (a) of Code Section 40-6-163, subsection (b) of Code Section 40-6-270, Code Section 40-6-390 or 40-6-391, or subsection (a) of Code Section 40-6-395 commits the offense of homicide by vehicle in the second degree when such violation is the cause of said death and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished as provided in Code Section 17-10-3.
(d) Any person who, after being declared a habitual violator as determined under Code Section 40-5-58 and while such person’s license is in revocation, causes the death of another person, without malice aforethought, by operation of a motor vehicle, commits the offense of homicide by vehicle in the first degree and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than five years nor more than 20 years, and adjudication of guilt or imposition of such sentence for a person so convicted may be suspended, probated, deferred, or withheld but only after such person shall have served at least one year in the penitentiary.”
The Georgia charge of Serious Injury by Vehicle provides “Whoever, without malice, shall cause bodily harm to another by depriving him of a member of his body, by rendering a member of his body useless, by seriously disfiguring his body or a member thereof, or by causing organic brain damage which renders the body or any member thereof useless through the violation of Code Section 40-6-390 or 40-6-391 shall be guilty of the crime of serious injury by vehicle. A person convicted under this Code section shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than 15 years.”
What do you do if you have been charged in Georgia with Vehicular Homicide or Serious Injury by Vehicle? The answer is going to depend on several factors. Lets assume for this discussion the accident occurred more than one week prior to you reading this post and less than six months. The accident happened in Georgia and you already gave a statement to law enforcement as to your recollection.
First, you want to retain a Georgia lawyer that is qualified to handle vehicular homicide cases. The lawyer’s job will be to recreate the accident scene, assist you with your time line, assist in preserving your recollection and assisting in the investigation from the defense’s perspective. The most important role will be in collecting and preserving evidence for the investigation. Examples include: preserving phone records, marks on the highway, weather conditions from the accident day, videos from near the scene and credit card receipts. Further, the serious injury Georgia lawyer will be a good sounding board for questions and expectations. The Georgia vehicular homicide attorney will likely put the client on a to-do list involving things to help prepare the case. The vehicular homicide or serious injury attorney will facilitate hiring an investigator and experts. The attorney will also want to walk through the scene with the client as soon as possible.
As with anyone facing vehicular homicide charges or serious injury by vehicle charges, one of your immediate concerns will be bond. If you cannot post a bond on a vehicular homicide case you are going to have no ability to earn money which is very much needed in order to prepare your case. Further, the cases generally take slightly longer before formal charges are brought as there is almost always an accident reconstruction done by the city, county or State of Georgia that takes time to complete. The case will not be indicted or accused until the final police accident report is approved. You will want to be released on a nominal bond with as little conditions as possible. The consideration for bond are the same as general criminal cases. They include, likelihood to appear in court when summoned, danger to the community to commit a new felony offense, likelihood of harassing or intimidating witnesses, and your ties to the community. In some vehicular homicide cases I have handled Judges have required special conditions in order to be released. They include no driving, no alcohol and a treatment program.
Additionally, in the majority of cases, the injured party themselves or their family in a vehicular homicide case will need to be contacted. If the fault is clear and the remorse is genuine, you will want to make the injured party or parties aware of your apology. This step was an integral part of several vehicular homicide cases I successfully defended. One reason is the prosecutor has a duty to consider the injured victim(s) input on desired outcome. This is a very sensitive time and you must handle the communication in an appropriate manner.
Lastly, you will want to stop talking about the case to friends, family, law enforcement. You will want to not post items to social media as your account will be monitored by someone from law enforcement or the victim’s family. Any statements you make can potentially be used against you. In rare cases, where you already made a statement to law enforcement, but left out exculpatory (items tending to prove innocence) information, you will want to supplement your statement to law enforcement. This statement will be made through your attorney after properly being vetted for accuracy and potential harm to your case.
If you or a loved one is facing a Vehicular Homicide or Serious Injury by Vehicle charge, it is important you have an experienced criminal defense attorney with the experience and skill necessary to fight this case. Call us today for a FREE CONSULTATION at 404-581-0999.