Vehicular Homicide in Florida

The law differentiates between negligent driving, which subjects a person to civil liability, and criminal driving conduct, such as Vehicular homicide, which subjects a person to incarceration and other criminal sanctions.

If accused of Vehicular Homicide in Florida, you need to know the:

Definition of Vehicular Homicide

Under Florida Statute 782.071, the crime of Vehicular Homicide is committed when a person causes the death of another person while operating a motor vehicle in a reckless manner likely to cause death or great bodily harm.

The degree of culpability required for vehicular homicide is less than that necessary to prove manslaughter, but more than a mere failure to use ordinary care. [1]

The essential inquiry is whether the person knowingly drove the vehicle in such a manner and under such conditions as was likely to cause death or great bodily harm. [2]

Penalties for Vehicular Homicide

The crime of Vehicular Homicide is classified as a Second Degree Felony and is assigned a Level 7 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

If convicted of Vehicular Homicide, a judge is required to impose a minimum sentence of 9¼ years in prison absent grounds to impose a downward departure sentence and can also impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to 15 years in prison.
  • Up to 15 years of probation.
  • Up to $10,000 in fines.

Vehicular Homicide without Providing Information or Rendering Aid

A person who commits Vehicular Homicide and also fails to provide their information or render aid at the scene commits the crime of Vehicular Homicide without Providing Information or Rendering Aid.

The crime of Vehicular Homicide without Providing Information or Rendering Aid is classified as a First Degree Felony and is assigned a Level 7 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

If convicted of Vehicular Homicide, a judge is required to impose a minimum sentence of 9¼ years in prison absent grounds to impose a downward departure sentence and can also impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to 30 years in prison.
  • Up to 30 years of probation.
  • Up to $10,000 in fines.

Defenses to Vehicular Homicide

In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, specific defenses to the crime of Vehicular Homicide are:

Simple Speeding

Speeding, with nothing more, is insufficient to support a Vehicular Homicide conviction unless the speed is shown to be grossly excessive. [3] More commonly, other factors, such as poor weather or erratic driving, combined with speeding is necessary to support a Vehicular Homicide conviction.

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

If you have been arrested or charged with the crime of Vehicular Homicide in Central Florida or the greater Orlando area, please contact Criminal Defense Lawyer today.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.

References

  1. Stracar v. State, 126 So. 3d 379, 381 (Fla. 4th DCA 2013)
  2. Santisteban v. State, 72 So. 3d 187, 195 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011)
  3. Rubinger v. State, 98 So. 3d 659, 662 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012)