Georgia Vehicular Homicide Sentencing
The felony provisions of Georgia’s “homicide by vehicle” or vehicular homicide statute, O.C.G.A. § 40-6-393(a), provide:
(a) Any person who, without malice aforethought, causes the death of another person through the violation of subsection (a) of Code Section 40-6-163 [improper passing of a school bus], Code Section 40-6-390 [reckless driving] or 40-6-391 [DUI], or subsection (a) of Code Section 40-6-395 [fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer] commits the offense of homicide by vehicle in the first degree and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than three years nor more than 15 years.
(b) Any driver of a motor vehicle who, without malice aforethought, causes an accident which causes the death of another person and leaves the scene of the accident in violation of subsection (b) of Code Section 40-6-270 commits the offense of homicide by vehicle in the first degree and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than three years nor more than 15 years.
(d) Any person who, after being declared a habitual violator as determined under Code Section 40-5-58 and while such person’s license is in revocation, causes the death of another person, without malice aforethought, by operation of a motor vehicle, commits the offense of homicide by vehicle in the first degree and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than five years nor more than 20 years, and adjudication of guilt or imposition of such sentence for a person so convicted may be suspended, probated, deferred, or withheld but only after such person shall have served at least one year in the penitentiary.
There is a mistaken belief among many people that jail sentences are not truly imposed first offenders convicted of vehicular homicide. The article except below shows just how misplaced this belief is:
Teen sentenced in drunk-driving death of 2
A Wyoming Park High School graduate will spend 30 months in prison for driving drunk, killing two of his classmates.
Takunda Mavima was sentenced Monday afternoon. He pleaded guilty in August to operating while intoxicated causing death, and operating while intoxicated causing injury.
On May 20, Mavima crashed a car carrying five other teenage passengers on the I-196 ramp to Chicago Drive.
Krysta Howell, 15; and Timothy See, 17, died in the accident. Dylan Stanaway, 16; Trenton Lambright, 18; and Huy Nguyen, 18, were injured in the crash. All were students at Wyoming Park High School.
On Monday, the sister and brother of Tim See urged Judge Jim Redford to impose no prison time for Mavima, saying it would do no good.
“I am begging you to let Takunda make something of himself in the real world,” said Lauren See. “Don’t send him to prison and get hard and bitter. That boy has learned his lesson a thousand times over and he’ll never make the same mistake again”
Angel Howell said her daughter’s death has motivated her to work to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving.
Mavima’s sentence was on the very low end of state sentencing guidelines.
Predicting what factors drive the sentences in Georgia vehicular cases is very difficult, however. The portion of the journal article provided below discusses some of the factors that impact jail sentences in vehicular homicide cases:
Below is the Georgia Parole Guidelines grid:
Ben Sessions is an Atlanta DUI lawyer and partner in the firm of McIlhinney & Sessions. His practice is focused on the defense of clients charged with DUI and other drug and alcohol-related offenses. Ben has co-authored articles and participated in seminars before the National College for DUI Defense (NCDD), the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council, and other organizations. He is certified as both a Practitioner and Instructor of the National Highway Safety Traffic Safety’s Standardized Field Sobriety Testing procedures. He has received extensive training in forensic breath, blood, and urine testing. He is a member of the National College for DUI Defense, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Ben Sessions graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law. In 2010 and 2011, he was named a “Rising Star” in the area of DUI defense by the Super Lawyers Magazine. In 2010, he was recognized for the “Greatest Trial Victory of the Year” by the Georgia Defense of Drinking Drivers (DODD) Group. In 2011, Ben was recognized as the “DUI Lawyer of the Year” by DODD. Ben was selected by the Atlanta Municipal Court to participate in the 2011 DUI Court Advisory Committee. Ben has also been selected as a speaker for the Atlanta Municipal Court “C=C” program.
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