If you accidentally kill another person while operating a motor vehicle, you could be charged with vehicular homicide if it is found that you were operating in a reckless manner. While most traffic collisions are caused by human error, this error is usually described by the law as carelessness, not recklessness. But what is the difference between careless driving and reckless driving? And how does the prosecution reach the conclusion that you were driving recklessly in the first place? To fully understand these questions and the gravity of your precarious situation, it is vital that you contact a West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Careless Driving Vs. Reckless Driving
Careless driving is endangering life, limb, and property of any person while failing to operate a motor vehicle in a prudent manner. Reckless driving, on the other hand, is operating a vehicle in a way that would likely kill another person. At first glance, the two sound pretty identical. Yet, there is a big difference: one is a felony. And, depending on the evidence gathered by law enforcement and the prosecution, you could be facing felony charges for your driving actions.
Tire Marks and Much More
According to WLWT 5 News, a 71-year-old woman pled not guilty to killing a 73-year-old pedestrian. The defendant allegedly did not ever touch the brakes throughout the entire process of: switching lanes, trying to turn left across traffic, hitting another vehicle, swerving back across traffic and up onto the sidewalk, running over the now deceased victim and hitting that victim twice, and running into a parked car to come to a stop. Because the defendant violated so many different traffic laws and failed to touch the brakes, as evidenced by the lack of skid marks and the damage caused to various vehicles, which projected her speed at the time, she is being charged with vehicular homicide due to reckless driving. But what other measures do police use to determine the cause of the crash, and are they always accurate? Common crash scene evidence includes tire marks and more made by:
- Uneven braking;
- Anti lock brake marks;
- Tire spackling;
- Gap skid marks;
- Offset skid marks;
- Emergency brake spin;
- Yaw marks or scuffs;
- Flat tire scuffs;
Additional evidence includes:
- Cell phone records acquired by subpoena;
- Witness testimony;
- Blood work of negligent driver (alcohol or drug use); and
However, all of this evidence is prone to error, which an experienced attorney will duly address.
Penalties for Vehicular Homicide Include Second or First Degree Felonies
Vehicular homicide, according to Florida statute 782.071 is killing another person, including unborn child, with a motor vehicle operated in a reckless. Recklessness is operating a vehicle in a manner that would be likely to cause serious bodily injury or death to another person. Vehicular homicide is a second degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. However, if the driver caused vehicular homicide and fled the scene without giving information or aid and the defendant knew or should have known that the accident occurred, the felony will be escalated to the first degree. First degree felonies are punishable by 30 years in prison.
Call a West Palm Beach Attorney Today
Do not hesitate to call the West Palm Beach law offices of the Skier Law Firm today for assistance if you have been charged with vehicular homicide. We will help you throughout each step of your case.