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Vehicular Homicide In Florida

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When a motorist’s negligence causes an auto accident that results in death, they can be charged with vehicular homicide. However, it is crucial to note that not every driver who acts negligently and causes an auto accident that results in death gets charged with vehicular homicide. Generally speaking, in Florida, whether a person is charged with vehicular homicide depends on their degree of negligence. Usually, charges of vehicular homicide arise when “gross negligence” is involved. Gross negligence is when a person’s conduct is so reckless that it disregards the life, safety, or rights of others. Gross negligence is sometimes referred to as criminal or culpable negligence.

What Is Vehicular Homicide According to Florida Law?

According to Florida Statute 782.071, when a driver operates a vehicle in a reckless manner and kills a passenger, another driver, pedestrian, bicyclist, motorcyclist, another road user, or an unborn child by causing injury to the mother, they are guilty of vehicular homicide.

Penalties of Vehicular Homicide in Florida

According to Florida statute 782.071, vehicular homicide is a second-degree felony. If convicted of vehicular homicide in Florida, you could face up to 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation, and a fine of $10,000.

However, the offense of vehicular homicide is usually upgraded to a first-degree felony if a driver knowingly fails to provide aid or information as required by Florida statute 316.062.

In a case of “Vehicular Homicide Without Providing Information or Rendering Aid,” the penalties are as outlined below:

  • A jail term of up to thirty years
  • Thirty years of probation
  • A fine of $10,000

It is crucial to note that, depending on an offender’s criminal history or background, or other facts of the case, the Court may reduce a sentence or impose harsher penalties than the ones mentioned above. For example, a person with no criminal history or a short criminal history could convince the Judge to impose a more lenient sentence. On the other hand, a long criminal history could make the Court impose harsher penalties.

Defenses Against Vehicular Homicide

Fortunately, an individual charged with vehicular homicide in Florida has defenses available to them that could result in their charges being dropped, a conviction of a lesser charge, or a reduced sentence. Firstly, if charged with vehicular homicide, you can use the defense of “simple speeding.” Usually, speeding alone is not enough to support a conviction of vehicular homicide unless the speeding was grossly excessive. Also, other factors, plus speeding, may be necessary to support a conviction.

Secondly, if the police violated your constitutional rights, you could use that as a defense. In such a case, the judge can suppress the evidence obtained by the police from introduction at trial. If this happens and the evidence was critical to the prosecution’s case, your case could be dismissed.

In conclusion, you should note that each case is unique, and only an attorney can help you determine the defenses that can work in your case.

Contact a Fort Lauderdale Criminal Attorney

If you are being charged with vehicular homicide in Florida, contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney at Joyce A. Julian, P.A. We can help you fight your charges. Contact us today at 954-467-6656 to schedule a free consultation.

Source:

flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2021/0782.071

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