Can you be charged with vehicular manslaughter in Georgia? What potential penalties do you face?
Vehicular manslaughter is also called vehicular homicide in the state of Georgia. It is not a charge to be taken lightly. In fact, it is one of the most serious charges you can face. These charges stem from driving a vehicle and causing someone’s death unlawfully and unintentionally. If you are charged with vehicular homicide, you can face incarceration, court fines and fees, probation or parole, and more. It is important that you contact a skilled Norcross criminal defense attorney right away.
What are the Types of Vehicular Homicide in Georgia?
If you are charged with vehicular homicide, it is one of two types. The first type is first-degree vehicular homicide, which is when you cause someone’s death while violating the state’s reckless driving laws, Georgia’s DUI laws, fleeing from police, in the commission of a hit and run, while illegally passing a school bus, or while driving with a revoked license after being declared a “habitual violator.”
The second type of vehicular homicide is second-degree, which involves causing someone’s death while committing a traffic offense like speeding, running a red light or stop sign, failing to yield the right-of-way, etc. This is a less serious offense than first-degree vehicular homicide, but it is still a very serious charge as both involve the death of another person.
Is Vehicular Homicide a Misdemeanor or a Felony?
The answer to this question depends on whether you are charged with first-degree or second-degree vehicular homicide. Each case is different, and the circumstances will dictate what penalties you are potentially facing. If you are charged with second-degree vehicular homicide, it is a misdemeanor and will carry less severe penalties, but can still involve jail time, fines, driver’s license revocation, probation, and more. First degree vehicular homicide is the most serious offense and is a felony.
With first-degree vehicular homicide, you could be facing anywhere between 3 and 15 years in prison for each death. This means that if you cause three people to die in the car, you could end up spending the rest of your life in prison. For second-degree vehicular homicide charges, you could face up to 12 months in jail for each death and/or a maximum fine of $1,000.
Georgia’s sentencing laws on vehicular homicide may be more severe than those of other states, and the sentencing can also be impacted by family members of the deceased. This means family members can make an impassioned plea to the court to hand down a stricter sentence.
Vehicular feticide, or causing the death of an unborn fetus, is also a felony in Georgia, and there are two offenses that could lead to this charge — reckless driving and DUI. Under current laws, there is no need for the prosecution to prove “stage of development” and whether or not the fetus is capable of surviving outside of the mother’s womb. If the mother was carrying multiple fetuses, the offender could be facing multiple counts of vehicular feticide. This charge is applicable whether the woman was walking, driving, or was a passenger in a vehicle.
Contact a Norcross Criminal Defense Attorney
Do not take a charge of vehicular homicide lightly, even if it is a misdemeanor. Contact Zimmerman & Associates today to schedule a free consultation.