Earlier this month, a Florida woman was arrested and charged with vehicular homicide months after she was involved in a fatal accident that took the life of another motorist. According to a report by FirstCoastNews.com, the woman was driving her car at 76 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone when she ran a red light and hit a Volvo, containing the only victim.
While the accident occurred last June, the woman was arrested only recently, when officers were more accurately able to determine the speed at which she was traveling. Witnesses also report that she was driving erratically and aggressively, weaving in and out of lanes, passing on the right, etc. She is currently being held on vehicular homicide charges, and bail is posted at $100,000.
Vehicular Homicide in the Florida Criminal Justice System
Vehicular Homicide is a serious crime in Florida. Like all other crimes, vehicular homicide has specific elements that must be met in order for a defendant to be successfully charged and convicted of the crime. In Florida, the elements of vehicular homicide are:
- The killing of another human;
- By the operation of a vehicle;
- In a reckless manner likely to cause the death of, or great bodily harm to, another.
Unless all three of these elements are met, a defendant cannot be convicted of vehicular homicide. Of course, the most contentious issue is usually the third. Specifically, what exactly is “reckless?”
Punishments for Vehicular Homicide in Florida
Vehicular homicide is considered a second degree felony in Florida and can be punished by up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. If the driver knew or had reason to know that the accident occurred and fled the scene without rendering aid (i.e., hit and run), then the crime is enhanced to a first degree felony. First degree felonies are punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. In addition, the driver may be required to complete up to 120 hours of community service.
In addition to these punishments, a vehicular homicide conviction may come with a host of other consequences, such as employment restrictions, voting ineligibility, and driving restrictions.
Have You Been Charged with Vehicular Homicide in Florida?
If you have recently been charged with the crime of vehicular homicide in the State of Florida, you need to ensure that you retain the counsel of an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney immediately. As mentioned above, when it comes to vehicular homicide, the difference between a conviction and an acquittal often comes down to the definition of “reckless.”
The Forbess Law Firm is a dedicated Jacksonville criminal defense firm that has the dedication you need to fight any criminal charge. No matter what the evidence looks like, and no matter how serious the charge, there is always some hope. Click here to contact the Forbess Law Firm online, or call 904-634-0900 today to schedule a free initial consultation today.
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Hollywood Police Officer Charged with DWI, Jacksonville Criminal Attorney Blog, November 12, 2013.