Analysis of Second Degree Vehicular Homicide After Fatal Accident in Georgia

Posted by Richard Lawson | Jun 12, 2018 | 2 Comments

Charity Adams was arrested after a car accident that ended in a motorcyclist's death on Saturday in Fulton County.

Adams' has been accused of exiting a shopping center and turning into the path of an approaching motorcycle. She has been charged with making an improper left turn in Georgia.

Adams has also been charged with second-degree vehicular homicide.

As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, my post today will highlight the differences between first-degree and second-degree vehicular homicide.

Vehicular Homicide in Georgia

Georgia Law breaks down Vehicular Homicide in Georgia into two different degrees.

The Georgia Code defines First-Degree Vehicular Homicide in Georgia as:

When a person, without malice aforethought, a death is caused by the person either unlawfully passing a school bus, reckless driving, fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, or leaving the scene of the accident. O.C.G.A. §40-6-393.

To elaborate: vehicular homicide in the first-degree is when a death results from any of the following criminal offenses: 

A first-degree vehicular homicide conviction is classified as a felony in Georgia, which may include up to three to fifteen years in prison. 

The Georgia Code defines Second-Degree Vehicular Homicide in Georgia as:

When a death results due to a violation of any other statute other than the ones specified for homicide in the first degree. O.C.G.A. §40-6-393.

To elaborate: vehicular homicide in the second-degree is when a death results from a violation of basic traffic laws. Basic traffic law violations include but are not limited to:

A second-degree vehicular homicide conviction is considered a misdemeanor in Georgia, which may include up to a year in jail and fines up to $1,000.

Practice Note

As a result of the preliminary investigation, Adams has been charged with second-degree vehicular homicide as a result of a basic traffic law violation: improper left turn.

However, if her blood work comes back to the contrary, and it turns out that alcohol or drugs were involved in the case, then her charge will be upgraded to first-degree vehicular homicide.

If you or a loved one has been charged with homicide by vehicle in Georgia or a DUI in Georgia, contact our offices today. Our office has over 50 years of combined experience and can walk you every step of the way through your case.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


Scott Reply

Posted Feb 13, 2019 at 06:18:09

Does the escalation to 1st degree depend on whether your client was above legal BAC limit? Or can it be upgraded from 2nd to 1st at any level of BAC percentage? It’s there gray area? Or is it zero tolerance?

Richard Lawson Reply

Posted Feb 13, 2019 at 06:19:46

A person can be charged also based on reckless driving.

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