Vehicular manslaughter, which is also known as vehicular homicide in Georgia, is one of the most serious charges anyone can face. A vehicular manslaughter charge results from an individual being accused of (unintentionally and unlawfully) causing a death while driving a vehicle. Some who is charged with vehicular manslaughter can lose their driver’s license and face jail time, fines and fees, probation time, and more.
Types of Vehicular Manslaughter in Georgia
There are two types of vehicular manslaughter a person can be charged within Georgia:
- First-degree vehicular manslaughter/homicide: causing the death of another person while violating Georgia DUI or reckless driving laws, committing a hit and run, fleeing from police, using a revoked license after being declared a “habitual violator,” or illegally passing a school bus.
- Second-degree vehicular manslaughter/homicide: causing a death while committing a traffic offense, such as running a red light, exceeding the speed limit, not yielding the right of way, or driving while distracted.
Second-degree vehicular manslaughter is less serious than first-degree vehicular manslaughter, but both are a big deal because they involve the loss of a life.
Vehicular manslaughter can either be charged as a misdemeanor (second-degree) or a felony (first-degree), depending on the details of the accident. A misdemeanor carries lesser penalties than a felony, but both can still result in going to jail or prison, being fined, losing your driver’s license, and parole or probation.
The Maximum Sentence for Vehicular Manslaughter in Georgia
The exact circumstances of each vehicular manslaughter case determine what penalties the accused will face. But here are the general penalties possible (with maximum sentences bolded) from both types.
First-Degree Vehicular Manslaughter Penalties
A first-degree vehicular homicide charge is a felony, so the sentence is the more extreme someone can get.
Most motorists convicted of first-degree will face between three and 15 years in prison per death. But if the driver is a “habitual violator,” meaning they have been arrested and convicted three or more times within a five-year period, the sentence is typically five to 20 years in prison per death.
This also includes the driver having their license revoked for three years.
Keep in mind these maximum penalties are per death. If more than one person dies as a result of the driver’s actions, the penalties can be stacked in the order in which they are charged. This means a motorist could spend many, many years—even a lifetime—in jail if multiple people were killed.
Second-Degree Vehicular Manslaughter Penalties
If the motorist is charged with second-degree vehicular manslaughter, which is a misdemeanor, they will usually face up between up to one year in county jail per death and/or a maximum fine of $1,000.
Georgia has a longer prison sentence for vehicle felony laws than most other states. And input from family members of the deceased can sometimes persuade the judge to give a more strict sentence for vehicular manslaughter. Again, the exact sentence can vary depending on each individual case.
What if My Family Member Was Killed By Another Driver?
If a loved one was killed in a car accident or other motor accident in Georgia, you may be able to bring a wrongful death claim against the other driver. In Georgia, a wrongful death claim allows you to pursue compensation for damages on behalf of your deceased family member.
Certain family members are entitled to recover what the law calculates as the full value of the loved one’s life, including costs for:
- Medical bills
- Funeral charges
- Lost wages and benefits
- Loss of companionship
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages meant to punish the driver for their actions
If you have lost a loved one due to vehicular manslaughter, reach out to a wrongful death lawyer as soon as you can. They will help you bring a wrongful death suit on behalf of the deceased. While we know money can never undo what has happened, we find compensation does help family members cover costs to reduce any financial strain on top of everything else.
Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer for Free
If you lost a loved one due to vehicular manslaughter, John Foy & Associates can help. Our experienced and compassionate lawyers are ready to represent you and your family. We have more than 20 years of experience helping personal injury victims get the money they need and deserve to recover from the costs of their accident. We don’t get paid unless we win you money, and the consultation is always FREE. To set up a free consultation, call us today at 404-400-4000, or fill out the form on this page.