Will the Parents Be Charged Criminally?
On Saturday, a car driven by a 17-year-old driver was in an accident at 4 a.m. in Gwinnett County, Georgia. Both the driver and his teenaged passenger are facing life-threatening injuries. Both were out past the legal curfew for persons under the age of 18.
This incredibly sad story raises several legal issues. To begin with, if the 17-year-old driver was impaired, he could be facing Serious Injury By Vehicle charges or Vehicular Homicide charges if his passenger does not survive.
At age 17, you are an adult for criminal law purposes in Georgia. As a result, if charged the driver will be charged as an adult. The consequences of his actions will stay with him for life. The outcome of the case is for life as well. His parents need to take the case very seriously if he is charged.
Additionally, the parents of both kids could potentially be in legal trouble. The driver and passenger were out past curfew. The Gwinnett County District Attorney has a history of creating novel theories of criminal responsibility. I could certainly see Danny Porter charging the parents as accomplices to Serious Injury by Vehicle or Vehicular Homicide Charges.
In Georgia, you are a party to a crime if you aid, abet, assist, or encourage another's criminal actions. It makes no difference if your assistance occurs before, during, or after a crime has occurred. Additionally, unlike other States, if you are a party to a crime in Georgia you face the same criminal punishment as if you were the principal.
As a result, the parents of the injured kids could be facing charges as if they committed the offenses themselves. It would be novel in this type of situation, but I would not put it past the Gwinnett County District Attorney.
The parents will need a top-rated Gwinnett County DUI Lawyer.