Any time you decide to operate a motor vehicle, you assume responsibility for your actions. Unfortunately, accidents do occur, and there are times when serious injuries or even death can result from your actions behind the wheel.
Being charged with vehicular homicide can feel scary, but if you understand what constitutes the charges you may be better able to understand your rights to a criminal defense.
How Florida law defines vehicular homicide
Florida statute 782.071 defines vehicular homicide as “the killing of a human being, or the killing of an unborn child by any injury to the mother, caused by the operation of a motor vehicle by another in a reckless manner likely to cause the death of, or great bodily harm to, another.”
Not every car accident that results in a fatality results in vehicular homicide charges. If you face this charge, the law must prove that you were driving in a reckless manner and that you knew you could hurt someone.
How negligence plays a role
There are varying degrees of negligence when it comes to vehicular homicide charges. Drivers accused of driving recklessly may be able to prove that they were not intending or even aware of the possibility of harming fellow drivers or pedestrians. Instead, acting negligently, perhaps by driving while drowsy or checking an incoming text, could have caused the accident. In such cases, the state has the burden of proof that the driver was in the wrong at all.
Facing a vehicular homicide charge does not have to be the end of the road for you. Every situation is different, and the evidence collected by law enforcement may end up working in your favor.