West Palm Beach Vehicular Homicide Lawyer
Anyone who drives a car may cause an accident. If you take your off the road for even a split second, the result can be someone else is injured or even killed. And if there is a death, police and prosecutors may look to hold you criminally responsible.
Most drivers do not intentionally cause fatal accidents. But if a person drives in a reckless manner that causes death, that is considered a felony under Florida law. If you, or someone that you love, has been charged with such a crime and needs representation from a qualified West Palm Beach vehicular homicide lawyer, the Law Office of Scott N. Richardson, P.A., can help.
Vehicular Homicide Is a Serious Felony in Florida
Florida law defines “vehicular homicide” as the killing of a human being (or unborn child via injury to the mother) due to the operation of a motor vehicle “in a reckless manner likely to cause the death of, or great bodily harm to, another.” In this context, driving in a reckless manner means acting with a “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property” or fleeing from a law enforcement officer. Basically, if you drive in a manner that is likely to result in someone being seriously injured or killed, it is reckless.
While vehicular homicides are rarely premeditated killings, they are still treated among the most serious felonies in Florida. In most cases, vehicular homicide is a second-degree felony. This means that a person convicted of the crime faces up to 15 years in prison and/or a criminal fine of up to $10,000.
In some cases, Florida prosecutors may even charge a vehicular homicide as a first-degree felony. The first-degree charge usually applies in “hit and run” cases. In other words, if the defendant knew or should have known there was an accident but fled the scene rather than stopping “to give information and render aid,” they can be charged with a first-degree felony. This carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison in addition to the possible $10,000 fine.
A vehicular homicide conviction can also have a number of collateral consequences. The defendant’s driving privileges will be suspended in Florida for at least three years. And the family of the victims can pursue a separate civil lawsuit against the defendant for monetary damages.
Contact the Law Office of Scott N. Richardson Today
Many people panic and flee when they think an accident has occurred. But as previously explained, this makes an accident a possible “hit and run,” which can lead to more serious criminal sanctions. So your best bet if you have been involved in any accident is to stay and wait for the police. Remember, you are not required to answer any questions, but you are expected to stop and render aid to any possible victims at the scene.
And if the police do suspect your actions may have played a role in someone’s death, your safest course of action is to work with a skilled West Palm Beach vehicular homicide lawyer who can assert and protect your rights. Contact the Law Office of Scott N. Richardson, P.A., today if you need to speak with an attorney right away.