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Section 2903.06 of the Ohio Revised Statutes makes it a crime to operate a motor vehicle, including a motorcycle, snowmobile, watercraft or aircraft which causes the death or serious injury of another or of an unlawful termination of another’s person’s pregnancy. You could be charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular homicide or vehicular manslaughter. If convicted, you face fines, jail time and/or suspension of your driver’s license. You may also face a civil lawsuit filed against you by the victim or their family.
Aggravated Vehicular Homicide
The following offenses are considered aggravated vehicular homicide in Ohio:
Operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs causing serious death or injury to another person or unlawful termination of a person’s pregnancy. It is considered a second-degree felony. You face a mandatory jail time of two to eight years, a lifetime suspension of your driver’s license and a fine up to $7,500.
Operating a motor vehicle recklessly in a construction zone, which results in the death or serious injury of another person. It is considered a third degree felony. You face a discretionary prison sentence of one to five years, a driver’s license suspension from three years to lifetime and a fine up to $5,000.
The following offense is considered a vehicular homicide in Ohio:
Operating a motor vehicle negligently or with excessive speed. It is considered a misdemeanor of the first degree. You face an optional jail sentence up to 180 days, a driver’s license suspension up to one to five years and a fine up to $1,000.
Operating a motor vehicle that causes the accidental death of another person. It is considered a misdemeanor of the second degree. You face an optional jail sentence up to 90 days and a fine up to $750.
Charges of misdemeanor vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter, violation of assured clear distance and failure to proceed in marked lanes of travel were filed on May 3, 2010 in Chardon Municipal Court against 21-year-old male. The person charged was driving his vehicle on December 17, 2009 when he turned and struck a 48-year-old woman from behind while she was walking with traffic. The woman died as a result of her injuries.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol investigated the accident and determined the driver was not driving his vehicle in a reckless manner and that no drugs or alcohol were involved. Therefore, prosecutors made the decision that misdemeanor charges were appropriate. If convicted, he could face a jail sentence of up to six months and a fine up to $1,000. He pleaded not guilty and a pre-trial has been set in Chardon Municipal Court on June 1, 2010. Investigators at the scene found some front-end damage to the vehicle on the grill, hood and radiator. The accident occurred in a clear visible area of the road with a 25 M.P.H. speed limit.
The victim’s husband has filed a civil lawsuit against the driver in Geauga County Common Pleas Court for negligence and wrongful death causing pain and suffering to his wife. His lawsuit claims that the driver was negligently operating the motor vehicle.
If you are charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular homicide or vehicular manslaughter in Ohio, you should hire an Ohio criminal defense attorney to defend you. The attorney may be able to plea bargain serious aggravated vehicular homicide charges to a reduced charge such as speeding or negligence or get you into a drug and alcohol counseling program which would give you a suspended sentence or probation or get your vehicular homicide charges or vehicular manslaughter charged reduced to lane changing.
Circumstances surrounding an incident involving vehicular manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter determine whether or not a person is charged with a misdemeanor or felony in Virginia. For instance, under Section 46-2-852 of the Virginia Statutes, driving at high speeds when there is only property damage is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor crime. However, it is also common for other charges such as DUI or reckless driving under Section 46.2-852 of the Virginia Statutes to be filed along with vehicular manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter charges. Sections 188.8.131.52 and 18.2-266 make it a crime of aggravated involuntary manslaughter, which is a Class 6 felony crime, when operating a motor vehicle in Virginia while intoxicated with a BAC level of .08 or more or while under the influence of drugs if the person was driving in a manner which shows reckless disregard for human life causing the unintentional death or serious and permanent injury of a passenger or another person. Under age drivers are also subject to the same penalties.
If convicted under this statute for aggravated involuntary manslaughter and drunken driving, then under Section 46.2-391, the driver faces revocation of their license. If convicted of two or more crimes under the Sections 184.108.40.206 in the past 10 years, their license will be revoked for three years, and if they have been convicted of three more crimes under this Statute within the last 10 years, their license will be permanently revoked. An involuntary manslaughter charge of maiming someone with a motor vehicle while intoxicated or driving under the influence of drugs stays on your Virginia driving record for 11 years. Mandatory prison sentences vary from 1 to 20 for traffic charge deaths involving a drunk driver or one under the influence of drugs.
An unnamed 16 year old male plead guilty to charges in Juvenile Court to aggravated involuntary manslaughter and drunken driving in the death of his Kempsville High School varsity baseball teammate, which occurred on March 7, 2010. The accident occurred near the intersection of Avalon and Normandy Avenue. The vehicle swerved off the road, hit a tree in which the teammate died at the scene of the accident. The police investigation revealed that the driver had been drinking alcoholic energy drinks, which are popular among underage persons. Police viewed a video which showed the teens buying alcohol. The parents of the victim expressed their wishes that the driver not be tried as an adult. The driver was released from electronic home monitoring after his hearing, but still has an alcohol detection device. The juvenile could face a maximum sentenced to be served at the Department of Juvenile Justice. Sentencing is set for July 1. 2010.
Vehicular manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter and reckless driving charges are serious in Virginia. You should hire a Virginia criminal defense attorney. The attorney may be able to get the charges reduced to speeding, lane changing, accelerator sticking, illness or improper driving under Section 46.2-869, which is considered a traffic infraction and punishable by a $500 or less fine. The attorney may also be able to get the sentence suspended or probation with attendance of an alcohol or drug treatment program.
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