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.