Any car accident can be life-changing for those involved, but when you are the driver and someone is seriously injured or killed, you may feel alone, scared or confused. Being faced with a legal charge can make you feel even more isolated, but understanding the penalties the state of Florida places on vehicular homicide can help you determine how you will defend yourself.
Florida law defines vehicular homicide 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.” Some of the penalties for this crime include the following.
Standard vehicular homicide
In the majority of cases, someone who drives recklessly and kills a fellow motorist or pedestrian can face a conviction of a second-degree felony, with the punishment being a maximum of 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation and a fine of $10,000.
Aggravated vehicular homicide
If the driver knowingly caused an accident or did not stop to aid victims following an accident, often called a hit-and-run, the penalties are stiffer. In these cases, drivers face a first-degree felony, with up to 30 years of prison time, 30 years of probation and a fine of $10,000.
Vehicular homicide can be a scary charge, but you do not have to face it alone. A combination of factors, such as speeding, poor weather or distracted driving, are often used as a defense against conviction.