Car Wreck Death
An average of 31 people die every week in car wrecks in Georgia—a truly troubling statistic. Wrecks can be caused by speed, distracted driving, impairment by drugs or alcohol or simply failing to obey the laws of the road.
No matter the cause, if a car wreck results in a fatality, one of the most important aspects that will be examined is negligence.
Negligence and Intent to Kill
Simple negligence or carelessness—such as driving a few miles over the speed limit on a day with clear weather— may only result in a charge of simple or second degree vehicular manslaughter, which could be charged as a misdemeanor.
If that the prosecution has evidence that the driver exercised gross negligence in driving recklessly, the charge could be elevated to first degree or aggravated vehicular manslaughter. Examples of grossly negligent behavior include:
- Texting while driving
- Deliberately running a stop light
- Excessively speeding
- Being under the influence of alcohol or prescription medication
It is important to understand that the prosecution does not need to prove that the driver had an intent to kill anyone; rather, simply proving that the driver’s actions resulted in a fatality may be enough to bring charges.
If convicted, the penalties for vehicular manslaughter include:
- Second degree: Misdemeanor; punishable by one year in jail and/or a maximum $1,000 fine
- First degree: Felony; punishable by three to 15 years in prison (or five to 20 years for habitual violators)