What is Vehicular Homicide?
In Ohio, the crime of Vehicular Homicide occurs where a person, while operating a vehicle, negligently causes the death of another or causes the death of another in a construction zone while speeding. Ohio Rev. Code § 2903.06(A)(3). Negligently is defined as “when, because of a substantial lapse from due care, [a person] fails to perceive or avoid a risk that his conduct may cause a certain result or may be of a certain nature. A person is negligent with respect to circumstances when, because of a substantial lapse from due care, he fails to perceive or avoid a risk that such circumstances may exist.” Ohio Rev. Code § 2901.22(D).
Vehicular Homicide is a misdemeanor of the first degree in Ohio. However, it is a felony of the fourth degree if the person did not have a valid driver’s license or if the person has previously been convicted of any traffic-related homicide, manslaughter, or assault offense. If treated as a misdemeanor of the first degree, the offense of Vehicular Homicide carries a potential jail sentence of 180 days incarceration, and, depending on the circumstances, can carry mandatory jail time. If treated as a felony of the fourth degree, the offense carries a potential prison sentence of 6 to 18 months, and, depending on the circumstances, can carry a mandatory prison sentence.
In addition to jail or prison time, the crime of Vehicular Homicide in Ohio carries a mandatory driver’s license suspension. The minimum suspension is a class four (1 to 5 years), and, depending on the circumstances, can be as high as a class two (3 years to life). There is also the potential that fines, court costs, and restitution could be assessed.
If you, a friend, or member of your family has been charged with Vehicular Homicide or any other vehicular crime in Ohio, please call one of our Columbus criminal defense attorneys for a free consultation.