Explaining Aggravated Vehicular Homicide
In the state of Ohio, vehicular homicide involves causing the death of another human being or that of an unborn child. The most severe offense in this category is aggravated vehicular homicide which is extremely serious and involves the greatest penalties.
In the state of Ohio, the safety of all drivers and their passengers is of the utmost concern. Unfortunately, auto accidents remain one of the leading causes of death for Americans, especially young children and young adults. Because of the sobering statistics, the state legislature has sought to deter unsafe driving habits by stiffening the penalties for traffic-related offenses.
Vehicle homicide is the criminal offense of causing the death of another human being or unborn child while operating a motor vehicle. There are varying degrees of vehicular homicide, with aggravated vehicular homicide being the most serious offense, followed by vehicular homicide and vehicular manslaughter.
With aggravated vehicular homicide, certain aggravating factors were present at the time of the accident. These factors can elevate a standard vehicular homicide or vehicular manslaughter case into aggravated vehicular homicide.
The most common aggravating factor is alcohol. When an individual kills another person in a drunk driving accident, they will most likely be charged with aggravated vehicular homicide. Furthermore, Ohio’s impaired driving laws not only encompass alcohol intoxication, but they include driving while under the influence of illegal drugs and controlled substances as well.
Aggravated vehicular homicide is not limited to drug or alcohol use. A person can be found guilty of aggravated vehicular homicide if they were found to be driving in a reckless manner which displayed a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of other people or property. A good example would be drag racing, if a person was racing at 65 mph in a 25 mph zone and struck and killed a pedestrian, they could be charged with aggravated vehicular homicide.
In addition to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or reckless driving, a person can be charged with aggravated vehicular homicide if they cause the death of another person while driving recklessly in a construction zone. Ohio legislature added this new aggravating factor in 2004, in order to combat unsafe and hazardous driving in the state’s construction zones.
In Ohio, aggravated vehicular homicide when impaired is a second degree felony. Penalties for a second degree felony can include up to 8 years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines. If the driver was under suspension at the time of the offense, then the offense is charged as a first degree felony which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $20,000 in fines. If you or someone you love has been charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, it is extremely important that you enlist the services of a skilled and knowledgeable Columbus criminal defense attorney immediately. A conviction can destroy your life; therefore, you will need an aggressive and meticulous lawyer to fight on your behalf.