Types of Vehicular Homicide

Fatal car crashes are, unfortunately, anything but rare. According to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) and the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHSTA), there were 33,244 fatal motor vehicle crashes in 2019 resulting in 36,096 deaths. This resulted in 11.0 deaths per 100,000 people and 1.11 deaths per 100 million miles traveled. In Florida, the number was staggering, with 2,950 fatal accidents and 3,183 deaths in 2019 alone.

When these deaths occur, people often try to make sense of something that simply doesn’t always have rhyme or reason, and might try to blame one of the surviving drivers. These accidents are just that, accidents, yet the drivers may face criminal charges in addition to lifelong trauma. To help you understand when charges of vehicular homicide might be made and what you should do if you find yourself in this situation, a manslaughter defense lawyer in Tampa with our team at The Rickman Law Firm shares a few important details to know.

What Constitutes Vehicular Homicide?

Under Florida law, vehicular homicide is defined as “the killing of a human being, or the killing of an unborn child by any injury to the mother, caused by the operation of a motor vehicle by another in a reckless manner likely to cause the death of, or great bodily harm to, another.”

You might also hear vehicular homicide referred to as “vehicular manslaughter” as the terms are often used interchangeably. The key in these charges is that the at-fault driver must have been driving recklessly or with negligence or malice.

There are a few types of vehicular homicide:

  •  Negligent or reckless driving
  • DUI/DWI-related
  • Traffic violation related (for example, running a red light or passing a school bus with stop signs up)

Possible Punishment for Vehicular Homicide

In Florida, vehicular homicide is a second degree felony and punishable by up to fifteen (15) years in prison, fifteen (15) years of probation, and a $10,000 fine. Furthemore, vehicular homicide (manslaughter) is assigned a Level 7 offense severity ranking under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code, and the court may order the person to serve 120 community service hours in a trauma center or hospital that regularly receives victims of vehicle accidents, under the supervision of a registered nurse, an emergency room physician, or an emergency medical technician pursuant to a voluntary community service program operated by the trauma center or hospital.

Defenses Against Vehicular Homicide Charges

A few defenses may be available to you if you’ve been charged with vehicular homicide. These include:

  • Proving a suppression of evidence (like a wrongful DUI arrest)
  • Finding supervening circumstances (such as a faulty engine or other factors contributing to the crash)
  • Disproving reckless behavior

To understand the best legal strategy for your case, it’s important to contact an experienced manslaughter defense attorney in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm. Our attorneys have experience handling cases like yours and can help you find the best legal defense.

For a free consultation with a Tampa manslaughter defense attorney, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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