According to reports out of Gwinnett County, a driver has been arrested for allegedly causing a fatal chain wreck on I-85 early Saturday morning.
The wreck occurred around 6:00 am. As of right now, the events have been reported as follows. An occupied and disabled vehicle was pulled off on the right shoulder. The arrested driver allegedly struck that vehicle with her own car after failing to maintain her lane. This pushed the disabled vehicle from the shoulder back into the line of traffic, and the vehicle was subsequently hit by a tractor-trailer. The disabled vehicle then caught fire, and although the driver was able to be pulled out of the vehicle, he died from his injuries later that day.
The arrested driver is facing charges of:
- DUI in Georgia
- Reckless Driving in Georgia
- Failure to Maintain Lane in Georgia
- And Vehicular Homicide in Georgia.
As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, I will spend today's post expounding on the law behind vehicular homicide, otherwise known as homicide by vehicle.
Vehicular Homicide in Georgia
Vehicular homicide is defined by Georgia Law in O.C.G.A. §40-6-393 as two different degrees.
First-degree vehicular homicide is defined 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.
First-degree vehicular homicide is classified as a felony in the state of Georgia. A felony-grade vehicular homicide charge occurs when a death is the result of DUI or reckless driving. Conviction of felony-grade vehicular homicide may warrant up to 15 years in prison. The prosecution in Georgia is the Office of the Solicitor-General, who generally prosecutes misdemeanor charges in State Court, and the Office of the District Attorney, who generally prosecutes felony charges in Superior Court.
Second-degree vehicular homicide is defined as:
A person will be charged with homicide by vehicle in the second degree when, without malice aforethought, a death is caused by the person violating any other traffic laws in Georgia than those listed above.
Second-degree vehicular homicide is classified as a misdemeanor in Georgia. Conviction of a misdemeanor vehicular homicide charge may warrant a sentence from a Georgia judge up to one year. An example of how this can happen is a death as a result of a speeding violation, failure to maintain lane, or following too closely.
Vehicular homicide is one of the most serious charges a person - in particular, a driver - can face in the state of Georgia.
Even though this offense involves the death of another human being which is horrific in every sense - the reality is that people are accused of this crime just as wrongly as other crimes. If you are not responsible for the accident or you were not impaired, you did not commit the offense of Vehicular Homicide.
If you or a loved one has been arrested, contact our offices today. We can help you figure out your case.