The felony provisions of Georgia's “homicide by vehicle” or vehicular homicide statute, O.C.G.A. § 40-6-393(a), provide:
(a) Any person who, without malice aforethought, causes the death of another person through the violation of subsection (a) of Code Section 40-6-163 [improper passing of a school bus], Code Section 40-6-390 [reckless driving] or 40-6-391 [DUI], or subsection (a) of Code Section 40-6-395 [fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer] commits the offense of homicide by vehicle in the first degree and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than three years nor more than 15 years.
(b) Any driver of a motor vehicle who, without malice aforethought, causes an accident which causes the death of another person and leaves the scene of the accident in violation of subsection (b) of Code Section 40-6-270 commits the offense of homicide by vehicle in the first degree and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than three years nor more than 15 years.
(d) Any person who, after being declared a habitual violator as determined under Code Section 40-5-58 and while such person's license is in revocation, causes the death of another person, without malice aforethought, by operation of a motor vehicle, commits the offense of homicide by vehicle in the first degree and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than five years nor more than 20 years, and adjudication of guilt or imposition of such sentence for a person so convicted may be suspended, probated, deferred, or withheld but only after such person shall have served at least one year in the penitentiary.
There is a mistaken belief among many people that jail sentences are not truly imposed first offenders convicted of vehicular homicide. The article except below shows just how misplaced this belief is:
Teen sentenced in drunk-driving death of 2
A Wyoming Park High School graduate will spend 30 months in prison for driving drunk, killing two of his classmates.
Takunda Mavima was sentenced Monday afternoon. He pleaded guilty in August to operating while intoxicated causing death, and operating while intoxicated causing injury.
On May 20, Mavima crashed a car carrying five other teenage passengers on the I-196 ramp to Chicago Drive.
Krysta Howell, 15; and Timothy See, 17, died in the accident. Dylan Stanaway, 16; Trenton Lambright, 18; and Huy Nguyen, 18, were injured in the crash. All were students at Wyoming Park High School.
On Monday, the sister and brother of Tim See urged Judge Jim Redford to impose no prison time for Mavima, saying it would do no good.
“I am begging you to let Takunda make something of himself in the real world,” said Lauren See. “Don't send him to prison and get hard and bitter. That boy has learned his lesson a thousand times over and he'll never make the same mistake again”
Angel Howell said her daughter's death has motivated her to work to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving.
Mavima's sentence was on the very low end of state sentencing guidelines.
Predicting what factors drive the sentences in Georgia vehicular cases is very difficult, however. The portion of the journal article provided below discusses some of the factors that impact jail sentences in vehicular homicide cases:
Below is the Georgia Parole Guidelines grid:
If you need help in determining parole eligibility in Georgia or, if you are seeking representation in the effort to gain parole, contact The Sessions Law Firm. No one can advise you of the exact amount of any sentence you will serve in Georgia; however, the criminal defense attorneys at The Sessions Law Firm can help you make a more informed decision about when you will likely be eligible for parole under the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles' guidelines.
There is no more challenging case to properly mitigate than a vehicular homicide case.
Because of the randomness and lack of intent in vehicular homicide cases, proper mitigation evidence can make a tremendous difference in the sentence that our clients receive. Unfortunately, many lawyers do not aggressively pursue available forms of mitigation evidence. If you or someone that you care about is facing a vehicular homicide case, call us today to schedule a free consultation.