According to Cobb County police, Tracy Latronica faces a DUI in Georgia and first-degree vehicular homicide after allegedly causing a wreck that resulted in the death of 74-year-old woman, Begum Fazilatunnesa.
The reports reflect the following facts. Latronica was driving a Ford Explorer when she attempted to make a left-hand turn onto Robinson Road. She allegedly was unaware of a Toyota Camry traveling eastbound and collided with the vehicle. Four of the five occupants were transported to Kennestone Hospital, and the fifth occupant, Fazilatunnesa, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.
As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, I unfortunately am all too familiar with the criminal offense of vehicular homicide in our state. The death of another human being is horrifying – no matter how it happens. Today, I will focus on the offense of vehicular homicide and the law behind it.
The Law on Vehicular Homicide in Georgia
Georgia Vehicular Homicide is divided into first-degree and second-degree offenses.
Georgia law outlines 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.
Vehicular homicide in the first-degree is when a death results from any of the following criminal offenses: DUI in Georgia, Reckless Driving in Georgia, Unlawful Passing a School Bus in Georgia, Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Police Officer in Georgia, and Hit and Run - Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Georgia.
First-degree vehicular homicide is considered a felony in Georgia, which may include up to three to fifteen years in prison.
Georgia law outlines 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.
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: Following Too Closely in Georgia, Speeding in Georgia, Failure to Maintain Lane in Georgia, etc.
Second-degree vehicular homicide is considered a misdemeanor in Georgia, which may include up to a year in jail and fines up to $1,000.
As I mentioned above, the death of another human being is horrific. The charge of vehicular homicide alone leads people to make assumptions on the accused person's innocence or guilt. However, the reality is that no one should be assumed guilty just because they have been accused of a crime. A death resulting from a car accident does not automatically mean that the accused person is responsible for causing that death.
We are not given many facts from the reports released to the media by Cobb County. We don't know if Latronica is even guilty of driving under the influence. The state of Georgia will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Latronica was either DUI or any of the other offenses listed out by the law in order to convict her of first-degree vehicular homicide.
If Latronica was wrongly accused, there are a number of Georgia DUI Defenses that could potentially work in her favor to demonstrate that she was not driving under the influence or that she did not cause the death of Fazilatunnesa.
If you or a loved one has been accused of DUI in Georgia, contact a Georgia DUI Attorney today. We are here for you and can provide the best possible defense in your case.