On Monday, June 10, Brandon Schneider, age 27, was indicted in Forsyth County Superior Court for charges of homicide by vehicle, serious injury by vehicle, D.U.I., use of improper tires, driving on the wrong side of the roadway, and reckless driving. Schnieder is suspected of being the driver responsible for a head-on collision that injured Bunia Lathem and killed 87-year-old Connie Mack “Doc” Lathem.
The Sheriff's Office Traffic Specialist Unit investigated Schneider as a possible D.U.I. driver after he was seen driving erratically before the crash on Canton Highway. The indictment alleges that Schneider was under the influence of G.H.B. at the time of the wreck. According to The Drug Enforcement Administration, G.H.B., commonly known as the “date rape drug,” is an addictive prescription drug that reportedly causes euphoria, drowsiness, and hallucination.
As a Forsyth County D.U.I. Attorney, I know that a fatal crash is more likely to happen when you're driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In today's post, I'll be discussing the law surrounding the tragedy of vehicular homicide.
Vehicular Homicide in Forsyth County
Under Georgia Law, one of the most severe charges anyone can face is vehicular homicide. The degrees of vehicular homicide are laid out in O.C.G.A. §40-6-393. Vehicular homicide in the first degree will be charged with a person, without malice aforethought, causes the death of another person by either unlawfully passing a school bus, fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, reckless driving, or leaving the scene of an accident. Vehicular homicide is in the second degree when it occurs due to a violation of any statute other than the ones specifically mention for vehicular homicide in the first degree.
In Georgia, vehicular homicide can be a felony or a misdemeanor. Vehicular homicide is considered a misdemeanor when death occurs because of a violation of a basic traffic law such as speeding, following too closely, or failure to maintain lane. Conviction of a misdemeanor vehicular homicide can result in up to one year in jail. However, vehicular homicide is considered a felony when death occurs as the result of a D.U.I. or reckless driving. If convicted, a felony vehicular homicide may lead to a 15 years prison sentence.
Whether or not the driver acted maliciously during the commission of the crime is irrelevant. The only thing a judge will consider is whether the driver violated traffic laws.
The most important aspect of defending a vehicular homicide charge begins with defending the underlying reckless driving, traffic offense, or D.U.I. charge in Forsyth County. As a Forsyth County D.U.I. Lawyer, I know that having a strong defense for the DUI-related aspects of a vehicular homicide charge is a crucial part of getting a favorable result. At the Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson, we are available and willing to help 24/7. Give out office a call today.