Vehicular homicide is the unlawful killing of another with the use of a vehicle. Unlike murder, vehicular homicide does not require intent to kill. Georgia’s vehicular homicide statute provides for a wide range of punishment, depending on the circumstances in which the offense is committed.
First degree vehicular homicide is a felony. Vehicular homicides are classified as first degree if the driver:
(1) unlawfully met or overtook a school bus;
(2) unlawfully failed to stop after collision;
(3) was driving recklessly;
(4) was driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
(5) failed to stop for, or otherwise was attempting to flee from a law enforcement officer, or
(6) had previously been declared a habitual violator.
First degree vehicular homicide is punishable by 2 to 15 years of imprisonment. If the accused had previously been declared a habitual violator, then at least 1 year of the sentence must be served.
Second degree vehicular homicide encompasses all vehicular homicides without intent to kill that take place in violation of any motor vehicle law other than one that would require the classification as first degree. For example, a death resulting from a failure to yield to oncoming traffic, speeding, or driving too slowly, unless such constituted reckless driving, could be charged as a homicide by vehicle in the second degree.
Second degree vehicular homicide is a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment or other confinement for up to 1 year, a fine of up to $1,000.00, or both. However, at the judge’s discretion, punishment may be suspended or a probation sentence may be received.
Regardless of its degree, vehicular homicide is a serious crime with serious consequences for the accused. If you have a vehicular homicide charge pending against you, you need a lawyer. George Stein’s law practice is dedicated to the defense of DUI and vehicular homicide. Call for a free office visit today. Ask about our convenient payment plan. Call (404) 681-4000. Remember, sound legal advice can make a difference in your case.