I’ve Been Charged With Vehicular Homicide In Georgia: What’s Next?
Being charged with vehicular homicide can be a terrifying and overwhelming experience. In addition to trying to process the trauma, grief, and fallout of the accident, you are likely confused and scared about what comes next and what your life will look like.
What is Vehicular Homicide?
Vehicular homicide charges are brought against the “at-fault” driver when someone is killed as the result of a motor vehicle accident. In Georgia, there are two types of vehicular homicide, both of which carry very different weights and consequences.
First degree vehicular homicide are considered the most severe or egregious, and are charged as felonies. A person will be charged with first degree vehicular homicide if they were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, fleeing police, illegally passing a school bus, driving recklessly, or if they committed a hit-and-run. Additionally, vehicular homicide committed by a “habitual violator,” someone who has received three serious traffic violations (including DUIs) over the past five years, will also be charged as first-degree vehicular homicide, even if none of the other requirements are met. Any instances of vehicular homicide that do not fit into these categories should be charged as second degree vehicular homicide, which are misdemeanors.
DUI Per Se Vs. DUI Less Safe
As noted above, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is an aggravating factor which can cause an incidence of vehicular manslaughter to be charged as a felony. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to fail a breathalyzer in order to be found to have driven under the influence. In fact, under Georgia law, DUI per se and DUI less safe are both grounds to find aggravating intoxication. DUI per se is likely the DUI that you are familiar with, this means that your blood alcohol level was tested and above the legal limit of .08. DUI less safe can be found if you have any amount of alcohol or drugs in your system and it was found to have made your driving less safe. For instance, if someone had a blood alcohol level of .02 but was swerving and involved in a fatal accident, they could be found guilty of DUI less safe, because it can be surmised by the police that the .02 of alcohol in their system impaired their driving.
What Comes Next?
If you have been charged with vehicular homicide the very next thing that you need to do is hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. Particularly if you have been charged with first-degree vehicular homicide, retaining an attorney is critical. A felony conviction can impact everything from your voting rights to your housing and employment prospects. Hiring an attorney sooner rather than later allows them to try and reduce the charges against you or mitigate the penalties. While being charged might feel like the end of the world, it’s just the beginning of the process, and it’s actually the point at which you still have the most power to affect the outcome.
Schedule a Consultation with Hawkins Spizman Trial Attorneys
If you are facing charges of vehicular homicide in Atlanta, Dunwoody, Alpharetta, Cobb County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, Johns Creek, Sandy Springs, or anywhere else in Georgia, now is the time to take action. Call the experienced Georgia criminal attorneys at Hawkins Spizman and schedule your free consultation today.