Manuel Martinez has been accused of hitting and killing a construction worker on Ga. 120 in Paulding County. According to reports, Martinez was driving westbound on the highway when he approached the construction workers and their trailer. There was a light flashing to signal drivers to shift lanes. However, Martinez didn't see the light or switch lanes and was headed straight for the trailer. Leon Berry, one of the construction workers, was on the trailer as Martinez approached and attempted to jump from the trailer and out of they way.
Unfortunately, Martinez then hit Berry as he attempted to get out of the way of his vehicle and Berry died at the scene. Martinez was arrested for vehicular homicide, reckless driving, failure to stop at an accident, and some other charges.
Reckless Driving in Georgia
Reckless driving in Georgia is defined by Georgia Law in O.C.G.A. §40-6-390 as:
(a) Any person who drives any vehicle in reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property commits the offense of reckless driving.
(b) Every person convicted of reckless driving shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000.00 or imprisonment not to exceed 12 months, or by both such fine and imprisonment, provided that no provision of this Code section shall be construed so as to deprive the court imposing the sentence of the power given by law to stay or suspend the execution of such sentence or to place the defendant on probation.
As the law states, reckless driving is classified as a misdemeanor. This means that the penalty if convicted of reckless driving can include up to 12 months in prison and up to $1,000 in fines.
Vehicular Homicide in Georgia
Vehicular homicide in Georgia is defined by Georgia Law in O.C.G.A. §40-6-393 as:
A person will be charged with homicide by vehicle in the first degree when, 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 office, or leaving the scene of the accident.
Homicide by vehicle in the second degree occurs when death results due to a violation of any other statute other than the ones specified for homicide in the first degree.
As you can see there are two different degrees of vehicular homicide. Because (as outlined above) Martinez has been charged with reckless driving, he is facing vehicular homicide in the first degree.
First degree vehicular homicide is classified as a felony offense. Convictions of felony-grade vehicular homicide may warrant up to 15 years in prison.
However, if Martinez is not found guilty of reckless driving and is found guilty instead of some lesser traffic offense that led to the death of the construction worker, then he will be facing the offense of second degree vehicle homicide.
Second degree vehicular homicide is classified as a misdemeanor offense. Convictions of misdemeanor-grade vehicular homicide may warrant up to 12 months in jail and fines up to $1,000.
Martinez is facing some very serious charges. If you or a loved one has been arrested for a serious traffic violation, contact a Georgia DUI Attorney today. We can help with your case now.