Florida’s Vehicular Homicide Laws and Penalties

When reckless driving leads to the death of another person, the driver can face felony vehicular homicide charges.

In Florida, a person can be convicted of vehicular homicide for driving in a “reckless manner” and causing the death of another person or an unborn child (by injury to the mother). Driving in a “reckless manner” is defined as driving in a way that, under the circumstances, was likely to result in a fatality or great bodily harm. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 782.071 (2017); D.E. v. State, 904 So. 2d 558 (2005).)

Vehicular Homicide Penalties

The consequences of a Florida vehicular homicide conviction depend on the circumstances. But the possible penalties are:

  • Standard vehicular homicide. In most cases, vehicular homicide is a second degree felony. Convicted drivers face up to 15 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 in fines.
  • Aggravated offense. Where a vehicular homicide is the result of a hit-and-run accident, the driver can be charged with a first degree felony. A conviction carries up to 30 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 in fines.

A vehicular homicide conviction will also result in a license revocation of at least three years.

(Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 322.28, 775.082, 775.083, 782.071 (2017).)

HOW MUCH TIME WOULD YOU ACTUALLY SPEND IN JAIL?

Sentencing law is complex. For example, a statute might list a “minimum” jail sentence that’s longer than the actual amount of time (if any) a defendant will have to spend behind bars. All kinds of factors can affect actual punishment, including credits for good in-custody behavior and jail-alternative work programs.

If you face criminal charges, consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer. An attorney with command of the rules in your jurisdiction will be able to explain the law as it applies to your situation.

Talk to a Criminal Defense Attorney

Vehicular homicide is a serious criminal charge that can result in a long prison sentence. If you’ve been arrested for vehicular homicide—or any other crime—get in contact with a criminal defense attorney right away. The facts of every case are different. An experienced defense attorney can explain how the law applies to the facts of your case.

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