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Vehicular Homicide

It’s easy after years of driving to become acclimated to the road and feel as if you’ll be able to anticipate any obstacle. In most cases, you can trust you’ll be able to divert your vehicle before any damage occurs. However, this fact isn’t true in every instance. Your car may malfunction, the weather may obstruct your vision, or you could be under the influence of a drug or alcoholic beverage, but no matter the cause if your car has hit and killed another person expect to face a criminal charge of vehicular homicide. 

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released a report in 2019 revealing that Florida had 2,950 fatal car crashes. Out of those crashes, 3,183 people lost their lives as a result. Alarming statistics such as these has caused the state to implement harsh life-changing penalties for vehicular homicide. The crime is classified as a felony and a conviction could mean not months but years in prison. If you or someone you know has been charged with vehicular manslaughter, then it’s imperative you seek an experienced Gainesville vehicular homicide attorney today.

Vehicular Homicide Lawyer in Gainesville, Florida

Although you had no intention to hurt anyone, you could still face significant penalties for vehicular homicide. The best way to beat your charges is to hire experienced and skilled legal counsel whose focus is on traffic crimes. The Gainesville traffic crimes attorneys at Galigani Law Firm have spent not one, two, but three collective decades fighting for the rights of Floridians in court.

Our attorneys at Galigani Law Firm are not just familiar with traffic laws but have an in-depth knowledge of each element in the statutes. They can utilize their knowledge to formulate a sturdy defense for your case. Call (352) 375-0812 to set up your first consultation with Galigani Law Firm today.

Galigani Law Firm accepts clients in the Gainesville metropolitan area including Alachua, High Springs, Newberry, Hawthorne and Archer. 

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Vehicular Homicide Charges in Florida

Essentially, vehicular homicide is when a person’s reckless or careless actions while driving is the direct cause of another person’s death. The crime itself is formally defined under the Florida Statutes Section 782.071, which states a person is guilty of vehicular homicide if they kill another person or unborn child by operation of a motor vehicle in a reckless manner likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another. 

The term “reckless manner” is defined as driving a vehicle in a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others. This standard is also used for reckless driving cases. It’s important to note a person can face vehicular homicide charges if their motor vehicle caused injury to a pregnant woman that resulted in a miscarriage.

Listed below are some examples of vehicular manslaughter under Florida law.

  • Passing in a no-passing zone and hitting a person in a two-lane hilly road
  • Weaving in and out of traffic and running a red light, which ultimately results in a pedestrian getting hit
  • Striking a child, without slowing, after an accident in an area with warning signs to drive slowly because it’s a school zone
  • Hitting another vehicle stopped at a red light while having a BAC of .08 or above 

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How Many Years is Vehicular Homicide in Florida?

The sentencing for vehicular homicide will depend on the unique facts of the case. Without aggravating factors, vehicular homicide is a second-degree felony. The maximum punishment a person can receive for a second-degree felony includes:

  • Up to 15 years in prison
  • A fine of up to $10,000

The crime may be reclassified to a first-degree felony if following is proven in court. 

  1. The defendant knew, or should have known, that an accident occurred
  2. They failed to give information and render aid as required under section 316.063 

First-degree felony vehicular homicide is punishable by:

  • Up to 30 years in prison
  • A fine of up to $10,000 

In addition to the penalties mentioned above, the court may order the defendant to serve 120 service hours at a trauma center or hospital where victims of traffic accidents regularly arrive for treatment. The defendant will have to help these victims under supervision of a nurse, emergency room physician, or emergency medical technician pursuant to a voluntary community service program.

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Can Vehicular Manslaughter Charges be Dropped?

You must understand that even though you’re facing criminal charges, that’s not a guarantee you’ll be convicted. Prosecutors must fulfill the elements in the Florida Statutes and prove them beyond a reasonable doubt to the jury. If they can’t successfully do this, it’s likely your charges will be reduced or even dismissed. The best way to fight your allegations and to have your vehicular homicide charges dropped is to hire excellent legal representation.

Having a skilled and reputable traffic crimes lawyer on your side is the key to dropped charges. An experienced vehicular homicide attorney can assess every fact of the case. They can determine if law enforcement acted unlawfully at any time and use that information to your advantage. Your attorney can state the evidence they collected was done so illegally, meaning that it must be suppressed in court. If the right evidence is suppressed, the prosecutor may be unable to convict and forced to accept a plea deal or dismiss the charges altogether.

Your attorney can use this method and various other defenses to contest your charges. If you’ve been arrested for vehicular manslaughter or any other traffic-related crime, we urge you to contact Galigani Law Firm.

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Additional Resources

Vehicular Homicide Laws in Florida – Read the statute for homicide crimes in Florida to read the Florida Statute Section 782.071 for vehicular homicide cases. Access the statutes to read how the offense is defined, learn the penalties, and admissible defenses to the charges.

Vehicular Manslaughter Statistics in Florida | IIHS – Visit the official website for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an independent non-profit and education organization dedicated to promoting/pursuing safety while driving. Access the site to learn statistics and data for vehicular homicide cases in the state of Florida. 

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DUI Manslaughter Attorney in Alachua County, FL

If you or someone you know has been charged with vehicular homicide, it’s within your best interest to contact Galigani Law Firm. A conviction for vehicular homicide could potentially uproot your life. The criminal defense attorneys at Galigani Law Firm want to do everything we can in our power to avoid that by formulating a strong defense for your case. Get started on your defense as soon as possible and contact Galigani Law Firm. 

Galigani Law Firm represents clients throughout the greater Alachua County area including Gainesville, Alachua, Newberry, Archer, and Hawthorne. Call us now at (352) 375-0812 to set up your first consultation

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Galigani Law Firm proudly serves Gainesville and surrounding areas of
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