A conviction of vehicular manslaughter can result in serious penalties if convicted. You need a skilled Atlanta criminal defense attorney who can represent you in your time of need.
The death of another person is a real tragedy and results in a thorough investigation. If it is determined that the person died due to the actions of another person, the individual or individuals will be charged in the death. Vehicular manslaughter is usually charged in cases where the victim’s death was caused by reckless driving or a DUI. It is also called “homicide by vehicle” and unlike some other charges, it does not require the prosecution to prove criminal intent.
In some instances, a vehicular manslaughter conviction can result in a prison sentence that is longer than those of voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, which is why it is imperative that you retain an experienced and skilled Atlanta criminal defense attorney who has experience handling vehicular manslaughter cases. You will want to speak with an attorney right away. Avoid talking with law enforcement officers or detectives and never admit to any wrongdoing. The sooner you retain an attorney, the sooner we can begin working on your defense.
Is Vehicular Manslaughter a Misdemeanor of Felony in Georgia?
Not to confuse you, but vehicular manslaughter can be both a misdemeanor and a felony in the state of Georgia. To be classified as a misdemeanor, vehicular manslaughter involves a basic traffic law violation. In these situations, an offender may be sentenced to up to a year in jail. Examples of misdemeanor-related vehicular manslaughter include following too closely, failure to maintain your own lane, or a speeding violation.
Vehicular manslaughter can be a felony when it involves a death that is the result of reckless driving or DUI. These carry stiff penalties — including up to 15 years in prison. This is why you should not defend yourself or rely on the services of a state-appointed public defender if you are charged with vehicular manslaughter in Georgia.
If you have a prior record or your license has been suspended or revoked, then the sentence could be as high as 20 years in prison. No matter whether you are charged with a felony or misdemeanor, there is always the risk of the victim’s family filing a civil suit for wrongful death against you as well. It is important to understand that criminal and civil cases are entirely different. You could be found not guilty in the criminal vehicular manslaughter case and still be found guilty in the civil trial and ordered to pay restitution to the victim’s family.
Defending Vehicular Manslaughter in Georgia
Preparing a defense for a vehicular manslaughter case usually starts with attacking the underlying alleged offense of DUI or reckless driving. The state has a burden to prove the charge of reckless driving or DUI beyond a reasonable double. Another possible defense centers around causation. Even if the state proves the DUI, it still must prove that it was the cause of the victim’s death. Was the other driver partially responsible for the accident as well? Your attorney may also be able to get the charges reduced, which could be the difference between a short jail sentence and a lengthy prison one.
Contact an Atlanta Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been charged with vehicular manslaughter, contact Ghanayem & Rayasam today to schedule an initial consultation.