Atlanta, Ga. - A story made headlines this morning all over the state of Georgia - even amidst all of the protests and riots.
A person was killed on the Downtown Connector early this morning. Witnesses reported that a Mercedes-Benz SUV was traveling southbound. Then, the driver made an illegal U-turn and started driving the vehicle in the incorrect direction. This resulted in a head-on collision.
The collision occurred just after 1:30 AM near the University Avenue exit. The lanes going southbound were closed for the following four hours during the investigations.
Police officers reported that the SUV collided with a smaller sedan. Officers discovered the driver of the sedan dead at the scene of the accident. The driver of the Mercedes-Benz was rushed to Grady Memorial Hospital with two broken legs.
There have been no charges filed yet. However, as an Atlanta DUI Lawyer, it would appear that the driver of the Mercedes-Benz may be facing charges. In today's post, I will outline the offense of vehicular homicide which is a common charge when an accident occurs and results in a person's death.
Vehicular homicide is divided into two degrees by law.
A person will be charged with homicide by vehicle in the first degree when, without malice aforethought, a death is caused by the person either unlawfully passing a school bus, reckless driving, fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, or leaving the scene of the accident.
Homicide by vehicle in the second degree occurs when death results due to a violation of any other statute other than the ones specified for homicide in the first degree.
Misdemeanor-grade vehicular homicide happens when a death is the result of a violation of basic traffic laws. Conviction of a misdemeanor vehicular homicide charge may warrant a sentence from a Georgia judge up to one year. An example of how this can happen is a death as a result of a speeding violation, failure to maintain lane, or following too closely. If someone is unfortunately killed as a result of regular traffic offenses, they can be charged with misdemeanor vehicular homicide.
A felony-grade vehicular homicide charge occurs when a death is the result of DUI or reckless driving. Convictions of felony-grade vehicular homicide may warrant up to 15 years in prison.
Moreover, if a person is charged with homicide by vehicle in the first degree and they are a habitual violator and their license has been suspended or revoked, then the punishment will be elevated to a prison term between five and twenty years.
On top of criminal charges, the offender could also face a civil suit brought on by the victim's family. In a civil suit, the judge could award damages such as pain and suffering or loss of company to the victim's family.