What is Vehicular Homicide?
When a driver’s negligent or reckless actions result in the death of another person, he or she can be charged with vehicular homicide. This is an extremely serious charge in Florida, which can result in up to 15 years in prison – even if you never meant to injure or hurt anyone. In the state of Florida, vehicular homicide is one of the most serious traffic-related charge one could face because it involves the death of another human being.
If you have been charged with vehicular homicide, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side, who will fight for your rights every step of the way. A conviction can have long-term consequences including a lengthy prison sentence, loss of employment and a permanent mark on your record. Our criminal defense lawyers can help you fight the charges and help you achieve the best possible outcome. Please call us at 855-797-9899 to schedule your free consultation.
Understanding the Law
Vehicular homicide is a first- or second-degree felony in Florida. Under Florida Statute 782.071, vehicular homicide, or vehicular manslaughter, is “the killing of a human being, or the killing of an unborn child by any injury to the mother, caused by the operation of a motor vehicle by another in a reckless manner likely to cause the death of, or great bodily harm to, another.“
Therefore, it is important to understand what is considered “reckless” under the law. According to Florida Statute 316.192, reckless driving is defined as driving with “willful or wanton disregard” for the safety of others. The prosecution does not have to prove that the driver intended to kill anyone. They only have to show that the at-fault driver was behaving in a reckless manner. Examples of reckless behavior include impaired driving, speeding or street racing.
Potential for Harsh Penalties
It is crucial for anyone facing vehicular homicide charges in Jacksonville to build a solid defense because the consequences of a conviction are severe. Vehicular homicide is typically charged as a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in a prison and a fine of up to $10,000. If the driver knew the accident occurred and failed to notify the police or render aid, the charges can increase to a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
Building a Solid Defense
There are a number of possible defenses for vehicular homicide. The defense, for example, could seek to exclude incriminating evidence, such as the results of a blood-alcohol test. A Jacksonville FL defense attorney will review if the evidence was obtained in violation to the driver’s constitutional rights and if the officer complied with the law while collecting evidence. A defendant may also argue that his or her reckless driving was not due to alcohol but a pre-existing medical condition or medical emergency.
If you have been arrested following a fatal Jacksonville car accident, make sure you ask to speak with your attorney before answering any questions. Your attorney will evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the case against you and determine which defenses are available to keep you out of prison. It may be in your best interest to negotiate for reduced penalties or to fight the charges in court. Too much is at stake to not consider every possible defense. Please contact our office at 855-797-9899 to obtain more information about fighting the charges against you and protecting your rights.