According to reports out of DeKalb County, police have several solid leads on a crime that occurred last Friday. LaDerihanna Holmes was hit by a vehicle in her front yard on Friday. Videos of the accident have been circulating on the news and social media platforms. LaDerihanna is a 9-year-old girl who was simply playing in her front yard when the surveillance camera from her house caught a vehicle going airborne into the lawn and striking her.
As of right now, LaDerihanna is in critical condition. And the driver has yet to be tracked down.
As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, I will outline the law behind serious injury by vehicle in today's post as the driver responsible for hitting the girl in the story above is most likely facing this charge as well as leaving the scene of an accident in Georgia.
Serious Injury by Vehicle in Georgia
Serious injury by vehicle in Georgia is defined by Georgia Law in O.C.G.A. §40-6-394 as:
Whoever, without malice, shall cause bodily harm to another by depriving him of a member of his body, by rendering a member of his body useless, by seriously disfiguring his body or a member thereof, or by causing organic brain damage which renders the body or any member thereof useless through the violation of Code Section 40-6-390 (Reckless Driving in Georgia) or 40-6-391 (DUI in Georgia) shall be guilty of the crime of serious injury by vehicle. A person convicted under this Code section shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than 15 years.
This particular statute does not define what constitutes a serious injury. However, Georgia Law defines it as a “fractured bone, severe burns, disfigurement, dismemberment, partial or total loss of sight or hearing, or loss of consciousness.”
In order to be considered serious, the injury does not have to be permanent. A serious, temporary injury is sufficient and only needs to impair or injure the appearance of a person. Injuries such as loss of vision, facial lacerations, broken ribs, and severe bruising all qualify as serious.
This law does not require any intent to harm another. As a result, defenses such as where a person did not intend to get in an accident or drive recklessly will not defend against an accusation for a serious injury by vehicle.
As you can see from the law above, serious injury by vehicle is a very serious offense. If convicted, an individual could face up to fifteen years in prison. Both DUI and reckless driving are elements of serious injury by vehicle. This means that the prosecution must prove that a person was guilty of either DUI or reckless driving before he or she can be convicted of serious injury by vehicle.
It is important to note that a person can also be charged with multiple counts of serious injury by vehicle if more than one person was seriously injured in the accident. Facing such serious consequences should never be done alone.
If you or a loved one has been arrested, contact a Georgia DUI Attorney today.