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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
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    Orlando, FL
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    Default Can Homicide Charges Be Filed Over a Fatal Accident

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Florida

    My minor child was driving a motorcycle home. My child had a green light when they approached an intersection. Another vehicle traveling in the opposite direction had a green light also but decided to make a left-hand turn right into my child's path causing them to hit, run over, and kill my child. An eye witness of the accident stated the 2 drivers did not seem to be speeding, and the investigator chose not to have a toxicology test done on the other driver because "they didn't smell like alcohol". Even though the other driver was found to be the at-fault driver, they are only being charged with Failing to Yield to the Right of Way.

    My child lost their life as a result of someone committing an unlawful act. Can the at-fault driver be charged with Vehicular Homicide or Involuntary Manslaughter?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    7,201

    Default Re: My Kid Was Ran Over and Killed, Can Charges Be Filed

    Quote Quoting JusticeForHer
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    My child lost their life as a result of someone committing an unlawful act. Can the at-fault driver be charged with Vehicular Homicide or Involuntary Manslaughter?
    We don't have all the facts that the prosecutor has to know what the appropriate charges, if any, should be. It is up to the prosecutor to decide on the charges to pursue. Bear in mind that it is possible that, tragic as this accident is, that the other driver did not commit a serious crime. Sometimes accidents are just accidents, and not a major crime. You can discuss the matter with the prosecutor if you wish and see if you might persuade him/her that more serious charges are appropriate.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    18,998

    Default Re: My Kid Was Ran Over and Killed, Can Charges Be Filed

    And of course, you have no RIGHT to have someone prosecuted even if they did commit a crime. A crime is not VICTIM v. PERPETRATOR. It is society as a whole that is harmed by criminal activity and the state prosecutes on behalf of them. Understand, that to arrest someone or even to request an alcohol test, requires probable cause. Just because there was an accident doesn't itself rise to this. If the officer didn't detect odor of alcohol or other signs of intoxication. legally they can't compel a test.

    It takes more than an "unlawful act" to qualify as vehicular homicide. It takes operation in a reckless manner. A low speed turning accident while "at fault" probably doesn't rise to the level of "reckless." Similarly the manslaughter charges need reckless or wanton behavior.

    On the other hand, the criteria for a civil action is much lower both in elements required (negligence suffices) and burden of proof (preponderance of evidence rather than beyond a reasonable doubt). You may wish to consult an attorney about a civil case.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
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    23,890

    Default Re: My Kid Was Ran Over and Killed, Can Charges Be Filed

    I just wanted to break in here and express my sympathies to the poster on the loss of their child.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    2,848

    Default Re: My Kid Was Ran Over and Killed, Can Charges Be Filed

    I too as both a parent and motorcycle rider like to say how sorry I am to hear this.

    I'd also like to point out there are law firms out there that specialize in civil actions exactly like this. The one I'm familiar with is a network of lawyers that are also riders.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    16,860

    Default Re: Can Homicide Charges Be Filed Over a Fatal Accident

    My child lost their life as a result of someone committing an unlawful act. Can the at-fault driver be charged with Vehicular Homicide or Involuntary Manslaughter?
    Possibly.

    Florida statutes

    782.071 Vehicular homicide.—“Vehicular homicide” is the killing of a human being, or the killing of an unborn child 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.

    782.07 (1) The killing of a human being by the act, procurement, or culpable negligence of another, without lawful justification according to the provisions of chapter 776 and in cases in which such killing shall not be excusable homicide or murder, according to the provisions of this chapter, is manslaughter, a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
    But if the authorities decline to prosecute all you are left with is a wrongful death civil suit.

    Consult one of those "attorneys that ride" if there are any in Florida. Otherwise, a personal injury attorney.

    My condolences as well.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    2,848

    Default Re: Can Homicide Charges Be Filed Over a Fatal Accident

    I'm positive there are some LAWyers that are TIGERS about this sort of thing in Florida.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    16,860

    Default Re: Can Homicide Charges Be Filed Over a Fatal Accident

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
    View Post
    I'm positive there are some LAWyers that are TIGERS about this sort of thing in Florida.
    This site needs a "like" button.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    7,201

    Default Re: Can Homicide Charges Be Filed Over a Fatal Accident

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
    View Post
    I'm positive there are some LAWyers that are TIGERS about this sort of thing in Florida.
    I don't understand the emphasis on "law" in lawyers. What is your point on that?

    And just so the OP is clear, there are certainly lawyers who would be interested in pursuing a civil lawsuit for damages as a result of this accident, assuming that there would be sufficient damages to make the lawsuit worthwhile. There aren't any lawyers who can do much for you to get more serious criminal charges filed.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    1,276

    Default Re: Can Homicide Charges Be Filed Over a Fatal Accident

    Section 782.071 of the Florida Statutes is titled "Vehicular homicide." It is defined as "the killing of a human being . . . 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."

    Section 782.07(1) of the Florida Statutes is titled "Manslaughter. . . ." It states, "The killing of a human being by the act, procurement, or culpable negligence of another, without lawful justification according to the provisions of chapter 776 and in cases in which such killing shall not be excusable homicide or murder, according to the provisions of this chapter, is manslaughter."

    Based on those to statutes, I think that the other driver could be charged with either (although your description does not describe reckless conduct as required by section 782.071).

    Keep in mind, by the way, that a significant criminal prosecution might not be in your best interests because it could negatively impact the other driver's ability to pay a civil judgment in excess of his insurance policy limits.

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