Clearwater Vehicular Homicide Lawyer
Vehicular homicide is not a crime of intent, but rather negligence. A person is charged with vehicular homicide when they cause the death of another person while operating their vehicle so recklessly that it is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury. This is true even when the driver had no intention to harm anyone and was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Vehicular homicide and DUI manslaughter have the same basic penalty structure. That is because both are second-degree felonies with maximum sentences of 15 years in state prison. Contact our experienced Clearwater vehicular homicide lawyer for more information or assistance.
Penalties for vehicular homicide
Vehicular homicide is charged as a second-degree felony. The maximum sentence is 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. In addition to a hefty maximum sentence, the minimum recommended sentence is over nine years of prison, even for individuals that do not have any prior criminal history.
Vehicular homicide and DUI manslaughter
Occasionally, you’ll see DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide charged together. In these cases, the prosecution may not be certain they can charge DUI manslaughter. Maybe the defendant’s BAC was right on the legal limit of .08 or some other element of a DUI prosecution is missing. In those cases, the prosecution can meet a lower burden of proof for vehicular homicide and get the same penalty if they win. It is much more common for individuals to face charges of DUI manslaughter rather than vehicular homicide.
Defenses to vehicular homicide
Outside of procedural defenses and mistaken identity of the driver, your experienced defense team at King Law Group can raise the argument that even though your conduct resulted in someone’s death, it did not rise to the criminal standard of recklessness or gross negligence. For example, if you’re charged with vehicular homicide because you were speeding and killed someone, and there are no other aggravating factors present, that would not be enough to prove criminal recklessness and thus not enough to prove vehicular homicide.
Leaving the scene of an accident
For anyone that is involved in a crash, it is a crime to leave the scene without providing information or rendering aid. This is true even for someone who was not at fault for the accident. The level of charge for leaving the scene of an accident changes depending on the severity of an accident:
- Second-degree misdemeanor: Leaving the scene of a crash with property damage, but not personal injury. This is punishable by up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.
- Third-degree felony: Leaving the scene of a crash involving an injury. This is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
- Second-degree felony: Leaving the scene of an accident involving a serious bodily injury. This is punishable by up to fifteen years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
- First-degree felony: Leaving the scene of an accident involving death. This is punishable by up to thirty years in prison and a $10,000 fine, but also includes a four-year minimum mandatory prison sentence which even a judge cannot waive.
Aggravated vehicular homicide
If an individual harms another driver, pedestrian, or cyclist while operating their vehicle with gross negligence, and then leaves the scene of the crime without rendering aid, the crime is escalated to a first-degree felony punishable by up to thirty years in prison. This charge also carries a four-year minimum mandatory prison sentence, but is viewed much more harshly by prosecutors and the Florida punishment code which could result in a much longer sentence.
Contact a Clearwater, FL Vehicular Homicide Lawyer
King Law Group represents those charged with vehicular homicide and other related offenses. Call today to schedule a free consultation and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.