Vehicular Manslaughter

The crime commonly known as vehicular manslaughter is referred to as vehicular homicide in Florida and is defined under Florida Statute § 782.071 as the “killing of a human being, or the killing of a viable fetus by any injury to the mother, caused by the operation of a motor vehicle by another in a reckless manner likely to cause the death of, or great bodily harm to, another.” Vehicular manslaughter is a felony offense that carries lengthy prison sentences and steep fines for people convicted of these crimes.

Prosecutors do not need to prove that alleged offenders necessarily intended to kill victims in these cases, but they do need to demonstrate that the individuals were driving recklessly. Alleged offenders who are guilty only of simple negligence cannot be convicted of vehicular homicide.

Lawyer for Vehicular Manslaughter Arrests in Brooksville, FL

Were you arrested or do you think that you might be under criminal investigation for alleged vehicular homicide in Central Florida? You will want to make sure that you have legal representation as soon as possible. The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. can aggressively defend you against these types of criminal traffic charges.

Ashley Aulls is a criminal defense attorney in Brooksville who represents clients all over Hernando County, Pasco County, Sumter County, and Citrus County. Call (352) 593-4115 right now to have our lawyer review your case and answer all of your legal questions during a initial consultation.

Overview of Vehicular Manslaughter in Florida

Back to top

Vehicular Manslaughter Charges in Hernando County

Chapter 7.9 of the Florida Standard Jury Instructions establishes that a prosecutor must prove all three of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict a person of vehicular homicide:

  • A human being is dead, an unborn child is dead by injury to the mother, or an unborn child is dead;
  • The death was caused by the operation of a motor vehicle by the alleged offender; and
  • The alleged offender operated the motor vehicle in a reckless manner likely to cause the death of or great bodily harm to another person.

A “reckless manner” is defined as being in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.

Back to top

Vehicular Manslaughter Penalties in Brooksville

Vehicular homicide is generally classified as a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Vehicular manslaughter charges, however, can be enhanced to first-degree felony offenses punishable by up to 30 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000 if alleged offenders:

  • At the time of the accident, knew, or should have known, that the accident occurred; and
  • Failed to give information and render aid as required by law.

If an alleged offender was driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol beverages, a chemical substance, or a controlled substance, then he or she will usually be charged with the crime of DUI manslaughter instead. In cases not involving alcohol or drug use by an alleged offender, prosecutors will typically use an alleged offender’s speeding or other dangerous conduct as evidence of recklessness.

Back to top

Florida Resources for Vehicular Manslaughter

Traffic Crash Reports | Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles —Visit this website to learn how you can request a traffic crash report. Under Florida Statute § 316.066, long form Florida Traffic Crash Reports must be completed and submitted to the department within 10 days after an investigation is completed by the law enforcement officer who investigates a motor vehicle crash that resulted in death of, personal injury to, or any indication of complaints of pain or discomfort by any of the parties or passengers involved in the crash. Crash reports can be made immediately available to the parties involved in the crash, their legal representatives, their licensed insurance agents, their insurers or insurers to which they have applied for coverage, persons under contract with such insurers to provide claims or underwriting information, prosecutorial authorities, law enforcement agencies, the Department of Transportation, county traffic operations, victim services programs, radio and television stations licensed by the Federal Communications Commission, and authorized newspapers.

Florida Highway Patrol
11319 Ponce DeLeon Blvd.
Brooksville, FL 34601
(352) 754-6767

Luzardo v. State, 147 So. 3d 1083, 1088 (Fla. 3d DCA 2014) — On October 1, 2014, the Third District Court of Appeal reversed Luis Enrique Luzardo’s conviction for vehicular homicide after concluding that his operation of his motor vehicle “may have been careless, even negligent,” but “did not meet the level of recklessness required to convict him” of the crime. The Florida Highway Patrol initially attributed a fatal May 2011 accident to a tourist from the United Kingdom and charged her non-criminally with violating Luzardo’s right of way by turning left in front of oncoming traffic, but the State changed its mind more than a year later, citing “newly discovered evidence” in dismissing the non-criminal violation against the tourist and charging Luzardo with “feloniously operat[ing] a motor vehicle in a reckless manner, to wit: SPEEDING WITHOUT REGARD FOR THE SAFETY OF OTHERS.” The Court of Appeal, however, wrote:

Focusing on the actions of Luzardo, and considering the circumstances, we hold the State has not proffered sufficient facts from which a jury might conclude that Luzardo was engaged in reckless conduct “likely to cause the death of, or great bodily harm to another.” § 782.071. We therefore reverse the judgment of conviction and sentence in this case with directions to discharge the defendant on the charge informed against him. We decline to rest our decision on the “excessive speed alone …” jingle. If Luzardo had been traveling at a speed of 120 miles per hour at the time of the accident, our decision might be different. “Judgment by jingle” is a perilous exercise, but if there must be a jingle in this area of the law, we would prefer, “Speed alone is not enough, except when it is.” See Rubinger v. State, 98 So.3d 659, 662 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012) (reserving for consideration a case where the speed of the defendant was “grossly excessive”). On the facts of this case, we reverse the judgment of conviction and sentence for proceedings in compliance herewith.

Back to top

The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. | Brooksville Vehicular Manslaughter Lawyer

If you believe that you could be under investigation or you were already arrested in Central Florida for alleged vehicular homicide, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. aggressively defends clients all over the greater Hernando County area, including Brooksville, Weeki Wachee, Inverness, Wildwood, New Port Richey, Spring Hill, and several other surrounding communities.

Brooksville criminal defense attorney Ashley Aulls can fight to possibly get these criminal charges reduced or dismissed. He can provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a confidential consultation as soon as you call (352) 593-4115 or complete an online contact form.

Back to top