The term homicide refers to the killing of another human being. When a motor vehicle is involved in the killing, such as a traffic collision, or literally running over of a pedestrian or cyclist, then it is referred to as "vehicular homicide," or "homicide by vehicle."
Motor vehicles can weigh in excess of 4,000 pounds. Considering how much time people spend behind the wheel each and every day, and the high incidence of car accidents, people are going to get killed in traffic collisions. Aside from a manufacturer's defect, the vast majority of auto accidents are caused by driver negligence or inattention. Because of this fact, the law holds people accountable for their actions when they fail to exercise the utmost level of care when operating a motor vehicle. In essence, if a driver accidentally kills another motorist, passenger, pedestrian, motorcyclist, or bicyclist, then they are going to be held responsible for their actions. Whether they spend one year in jail, or fifteen years in prison will depend upon the circumstances surrounding the case, and whether or not the driver has a history of being labeled a "habitual violator."
With vehicular homicide, neither malice nor aforethought is necessary to have charges exacted against an individual. Depending on the circumstances of the incident, a person convicted of vehicular homicide can experience a wide range of criminal penalties.
In the state of Georgia, first degree homicide by vehicle is a felony offense. A first degree felony is the worst kind of charge connected to vehicular homicide because it relates to the most reckless and negligent behaviors. A person can face first degree homicide by vehicle charges under the following circumstances: if the driver met or overtook a school bus; if they unlawfully failed to stop for a collision; if they were driving in a reckless manner; if they were driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs; if they failed to stop for a law enforcement officer; if they attempted to escape a police officer; or if they were previously declared a habitual violator.
First degree homicide by vehicle is a felony offense, and a conviction is punishable from 3 to 15 years in a state prison, or between 5 and 20 years for a habitual violator.
Second degree homicide by vehicle is a misdemeanor offense, and may result in up to 1 year in jail, and/or a fine of $1,000. Second degree homicide basically covers all other types of homicides by vehicle which isn't covered under first degree homicides.
Even if you are an upstanding citizen with no prior criminal record, you can still be facing harsh criminal consequences if you killed another person in a traffic collision. Judges and prosecutors view homicide by vehicle charges very seriously because an innocent person was killed. If you want to do everything you can to avoid going to jail, or prison, and becoming labeled a "convicted felon," then you need to contact a DUI attorney right away. People can be charged with homicide by vehicle, whether or not there was alcohol or drugs involved; therefore, it will be absolutely necessary to enlist the services of an experienced lawyer if you want to do everything you can to avoid enhanced penalties. They will be able to protect your legal rights, while making every effort to help you achieve a more favorable outcome in the charges against you. So please, don't wait another minute; contact a DUI attorney before it's too late.