Gatha Dyer, 44, of Atlanta was sentenced Monday for the 2013 vehicular homicide of 11 year-old Patrick Williams, a student at McNair Middle School.
On April 1, 2013 Williams was attempting to cross a street in southwest Atlanta when he was struck by Dyer's vehicle, throwing him some 53 feet in the air. Williams landed on the windshield of another vehicle. Police said that Dyer had slowed down after he hit Williams but eventually fled the scene. At the time, Dyer was on probation for another DUI crash in Cobb County. A person who witnessed the incident followed Dyer, got his tag number, and called police.
Dyer was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the charges of DUI, reckless driving, and vehicular homicide. He had 3 previous DUI convictions. Essentially he received the maximum punishment because Felony Vehicular Homicide carries a 15 year maximum punishment in Georgia.
There hasn't been any information on Dyer's previous DUIs, but typically someone with three previous DUIs would be considered a habitual violator. Being labeled a habitual violator or HV isn't a crime, it's a status. A person can receive HV status by committing three serious offenses such as DUI, Hit and Run, Attempt to Elude Law Enforcement, etc., in a five-year time period. The five-year period is calculated from the date of the offense(s) instead of the date of conviction.
If a person has HV status they are usually unable to operate a car unless they have a probationary permit to drive or an ignition interlock device on their car. The word “operate” is an interesting one here. Is “operating” a vehicle the same as “driving” a vehicle? The law says that a person can even be arrested for DUI if they are sitting behind the wheel of a car with the motor running and the lights on; since technically they are considered to be “operating” the vehicle.
If a person is HV because of three DUI convictions, a felony HV conviction can be punishable up to 5 years in prison and a $1000.00 fine. No probationary license is available and will not be for at least two years. To get probationary driving permit, a person must go to DUI School and have an ignition interlock device installed on their car.
If a person is charged with felony vehicular homicide because they were DUI, no probationary license is available, and for good reason. If a person has been charged with such an offense, not being able to drive is the least of their worries.
If you have been arrested for DUI or any traffic charge contact the Law Offices of Richard Lawson. Having an experienced legal professional on your side could make all the difference in your case. Someone is waiting to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and answer any questions and allay any fears you may have.