One of the harsh realities of vehicular homicide cases is that many are extremely difficult to defend, and frequently the potential exposure of a sentence prevent many people from trying their cases. So, a large part of defending vehicular homicide cases in Georgia involves developing an appropriate mitigation plan. In deciding what you should do with a homicide by vehicle
case, the first step has be determining what the potential sentence is that may be imposed by the sentencing judge. Some vehicular homicide cases involve multiple deaths and you must know how the sentencing court can handle alternative charges for the same death. The case law below addresses this issue:
At the hearing on Hill's motion for new trial, the parties agreed that the trial court should merge DUI vehicular homicide (Counts 3 and 4) into reckless vehicularhomicide (Counts 1 and 2). This is correct, since Hill could “be convicted only once for the death of each victim.” Diamond v. State, 267 Ga. 249, 251(3)(b), 477 S.E.2d 562 (1996) (where defendant was convicted of three counts of felony murder and three counts of DUI vehicular homicide, the latter were vacated by operation of law). The State also concedes that Hill's reckless driving, red light, and less safe DUIconvictions (Counts 5, 6, and 7) should merge into the reckless vehicular homicideconvictions. See Harris v. State, 272 Ga.App. 366, 373-374(6), 612 S.E.2d 557 (2005) (as lesser included offenses, DUI and reckless driving convictions merge into vehicular homicide conviction); Hamby v. State, 256 Ga.App. 886, 888(3), 570 S.E.2d 77 (2002) (due care conviction merges into vehicular homicide conviction).