13th Dec 2016
A criminal defense attorney in Miami Dade has likely seen instances of cases in which a person’s conduct that would normally not be considered criminal in nature leads to a lifelong change in someone’s life due to a vehicular homicide charge. As tragic as these cases may seem, it is not always appropriate to charge someone with a serious crime of this nature simply because a death resulted. A criminal defense attorney in Miami Dade can explain this Florida offense and what the prosecutor must establish to secure a conviction.
Florida law defines vehicular homicide as the act of killing another human through the operation of a motor vehicle in a reckless manner that is probable to result in death or great bodily harm. Because this crime is considered a second degree felony, it carries with it a serious sentence of up to 15 years in prison. In some cases, the crime can be enhanced to a first degree felony.
The prosecution must show more than the driver driving unsafely. Instead, he or she is required to show that the defendant’s conduct was one of a “gross and flagrant character” so that an inference of a “conscious indifference” to the consequences of his or her actions arises. Therefore, mere carelessness or ordinary negligence is not adequate to support a conviction for vehicular homicide. This can be a heavy burden for the prosecutor to meet.
A criminal defense lawyer may be able to negotiate a favorable plea bargain for a defendant by calling into the prosecutor’s ability to meet this heavy burden. In some cases, the prosecutor may be willing to plead a case down to reckless driving or a lesser charge in exchange for a guilty plea.