Vehicular Homicide DUI Attorney in Athens
You Need Quality Defense Counsel
Driving under the influence in Athens can have tragic consequences if an intoxicated driver causes an accident. In Georgia, homicide by vehicle is the unlawful killing of an individual by vehicle, and is often accompanied by DUI charges. Vehicular homicide is a very serious charge, but there are defenses possible. Athens DUI Defense lawyer J. Lee Webb has extensive experience in these types of cases, and can help you put together your best possible case.
Find out more about your situation by calling (706) 705-5122 and scheduling a no-commitment free case evaluation.
Homicide by Vehicle
To prove that a driver has committed homicide by vehicle, the prosecution must show that:
- There was a DUI or major traffic violation; and
- The violation was the proximate cause of a person’s death.
A DUI may be proven by a breathalyzer test or blood test, or by showing that the driver’s operation of the vehicle was made less safe because of the use of alcohol or drugs. Other serious traffic violations that can lead to a felony vehicular homicide charge are:
Proximate cause means that the driver’s actions were the cause of the death and that, but for the violation, the person would still be alive. For instance, if an intoxicated driver ran into another car, stopped at a red light, which skidded and hit a pedestrian crossing the street, proximate cause would exist. But if an intoxicated driver ran into an electrical pole, causing a passerby who was carrying a gun to discharge the gun in fright, killing another person, there would be no proximate cause.
Vehicular homicide does not require that the driver have malice aforethought or intend harm to anyone. Rather, the recklessness of driving while intoxicated is sufficient to sustain a conviction.
In Georgia, homicide by vehicle is punishable by three to fifteen years’ imprisonment. Further, a convicted driver’s license will be suspended for three years, and no work permit will be available.
Feticide by Vehicle
A driver commits feticide by vehicle if he or she causes the death of an unborn child by injuring the expectant mother, and if the mother had been killed, it would have been vehicular homicide. Like vehicular homicide, vehicular feticide is punishable by three to fifteen years’ imprisonment.
Misdemeanor Vehicular Homicide
A driver commits misdemeanor vehicular homicide if he or she causes another’s death by the violation of a basic traffic law, such as speeding, following too closely, or failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign. The penalty for the misdemeanor charge is up to one year’s imprisonment. An experienced lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecution to reduce felony vehicular homicide charges to a misdemeanor.
If the accident victim’s carelessness was a contributing factor in the accident, the driver may have a defense to a vehicular homicide charge. For example, if the other person darted into the roadway in front of the oncoming driver, or if the other person was also driving, and ran a stop sign, these actions may constitute contributory negligence, and may serve as a defense.
Vehicular homicide charges are very serious, so experienced representation is crucial. Contact Athens DUI defense Attorney J. Lee Webb for a free consultation at (706) 705-5122.