Vehicular Homicide Charge in Florida - What Does It Mean?

Many people do not realize the severe consequences that their driving might have beyond the potential fatal results of an accident. In this article, Gainesville Personal Injury Attorney, Jeffrey Meldon defines vehicular homicide and reckless driving along with their corresponding punishments.

A vehicular homicide, commonly referred to as a vehicular manslaughter, is the killing of a person or a fetus by an injury to the mother, caused by reckless driving of a vehicle. This crime is proscribed in Florida Statute §782.071.

Reckless driving is driving "any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property" (Florida Statute §316.192). This usually involves speeding, driving under influence, or racing. Because the driving is so reckless in vehicular homicide cases, the driver's intent to kill is not necessary to prosecute the crime. Therefore, the prosecution is not required to prove driver's intent to kill such as in a murder case.

Vehicular homicide is punishable as a felony of either a first degree or a second degree. Felonies are divided by several degrees of severity, which provide different levels of punishment. Vehicular homicide is usually a second degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine not exceeding $10,000. However, if at the time of the accident a person knew or should have known that the accident occurred and failed to give information to a police officer or render reasonable aid to those injured (per Florida Statute §316.062), a crime is prosecuted as a first degree felony, which is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine not exceeding $10,000.

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