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Vehicular Homicide

In Florida, almost any fatal accident that involves a vehicle and a violation of a traffic law can result in charges of vehicular homicide under Fla. Stat. § 782.071. This crime is commonly referred to as “vehicular manslaughter.”

Vehicular homicide is a felony offense and you could be convicted due to something that was completely an accident—even if you did not consume any alcohol or drugs.

DeFuniak Springs Lawyer for Vehicular Manslaughter

Convictions for these charges come with severe penalties, and a successful defense against any vehicular homicide charge takes someone with in-depth knowledge of the many aspects of Florida law. If you have been arrested for vehicular homicide anywhere in the Florida Panhandle, Adkinson Law Firm, LLC can fight to get these charges reduced or dismissed.

Our Walton County vehicular homicide attorneys represent clients from communities in Santa Rosa County, Walton County, Holmes County, Washington County, Escambia County, Bay County, and Okaloosa County. we can review your case as soon as you call today to schedule a completely free initial consultation.

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Vehicular Homicide in Palm Beach County Defined

The threshold the prosecution needs to meet for a conviction of vehicular homicide is lower than that of ordinary homicide cases. You can be charged with vehicular homicide if you are accused of killing a person by operating a motor vehicle in a reckless manner likely to cause the death of or great bodily harm to another person.

By “reckless manner,” the law means driving a vehicle with willful or wanton disregard for safety, the same standard as in a “reckless driving” charge. This means that in any situation where you could be convicted of reckless driving, you will likely be charged with vehicular homicide if somebody died in an accident. You can also be charged with this crime if the accident injures a pregnant woman and results in a miscarriage.

Some examples of situations that have resulted in a conviction of vehicular homicide are:

  • Striking a bicyclist after weaving in and out of traffic and then running a red light;
  • Attempting to pass in a no-passing zone of a two-lane road in the rain in a hilly area;
  • Striking a young child without slowing down, even after the accident, in an area with many warning signs and no obstructions of the driver's view; and
  • Running into a vehicle stopped at a red light with a blood-alcohol level just under the legal limit.

A vehicular homicide charge is different from a “DUI homicide” charge and does not require the prosecution to prove any intoxication or impairment. It is therefore entirely possible to be charged with vehicular homicide under Florida law even if alcohol or drugs were not a factor.

However, if you were drinking alcohol or drugs were found in your system, the prosecution can use this information in court to help their argument, and when combined with other elements it may be enough to convict you of vehicular homicide. Regardless of the situation that resulted in your vehicular homicide charge, the assistance of an experienced vehicular homicide defense lawyer serving Palm Beach County is strongly suggested.

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Penalties for Vehicular Manslaughter in Florida

Normally, vehicular homicide is a second-degree felony offense, and conviction can result in:

  • 15 years in prison;
  • $10,000 fine; and/or
  • 120 hours of community service in a hospital or trauma center that regularly receives victims of vehicle accidents.

If the driver knew, or should have known, that an accident happened and did not give information and render aid as required under Florida law, the charge increases to a first-degree felony, and conviction can result in:

  • 30 years in prison;
  • $10,000 fine; and/or
  • 120 hours of community service in a hospital or trauma center that regularly receives victims of vehicle accidents.

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Finding a Vehicular Homicide Attorney in Palm Beach County, FL

If you have been charged with vehicular homicide anywhere in the Florida Panhandle, you will want to immediately seek legal counsel. Adkinson Law Firm, LLC defends clients facing criminal charges in Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Milton, Navarre, DeFuniak Springs, South Walton, Pensacola, Panama City, and Crestview.

Clay and Clayton Adkinson are a father and son team of DeFuniak Springs criminal defense attorneys who have over 30 years of combined legal experience. They can provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call or submit an online form to schedule a free, confidential consultation.