Gwinnett County has had quite the past couple of days with arrests for DUI in Georgia. According to the most recent reports, a woman is facing both DUI and vehicular homicide charges after being accused of causing a fatal three-vehicle accident on Beaver Ruin Road.
The woman allegedly drove her SUV into the center turn lane and hit another vehicle head-on. The driver of that vehicle died as a result of the impact and two people in the vehicle behind that one have reported as suffering from minor injuries.
She is also facing charges of failure to maintain lane in Georgia.
As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, I will focus on the offense of vehicular homicide in today's post as it is one of the most serious charges that anyone can face in Georgia. It can be classified as either a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the facts of the case. I will explain below.
Vehicular Homicide in Georgia
Vehicular homicide in Georgia is broken down into two separate degrees by Georgia law. O.C.G.A. §40-6-393 outlines the degrees of homicide by vehicle.
To explain it as simply as possible:
A person will be charged with first degree vehicular homicide 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. Most of the time, first degree vehicular homicide is classified as a felony offense. A conviction for first degree vehicular homicide can result in up to fifteen years in prison. Moreover, felony convictions have long term consequences. A felony conviction can make finding employment difficult. The conviction will appear during background checks and can also affect obtaining housing or credit.
A person will be charged with second degree vehicular homicide when death results due to a violation of any other statute other than the ones specified for homicide in the first degree. Most of the time, second degree vehicular homicide is classified as a misdemeanor offense. A conviction for second degree vehicular homicide can result in a fine up to $1,000 and a jail sentence of up to 12 months.
In addition to the legal penalties, the offender could also face a civil suit brought on by the victim's family for either degree of vehicular homicide. In a civil suit, the judge could award damages such as pain and suffering or loss of company to the victim's family.
Vehicular homicide is a very difficult topic in Georgia. The loss of any human life is horrific and very hard to deal with. The reality is that just because there has been a death from the result of a vehicular accident does not mean that the accused driver is responsible for causing the accident.
In order to be convicted of vehicular homicide, the prosecution must prove that the accused driver cause the death of another through his or her actions.
If you or a loved one is facing a serious traffic violation, contact a Georgia DUI Attorney today. We can help you with your case and determine the best course of action for you.