Under Tennessee law, vehicular homicide is the reckless killing of another by the operation of an automobile, airplane, motorboat or other motor vehicle, as the proximate result of:
- Conduct creating a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to a person.
- Conduct constituting the offense of drag racing.
- The driver’s intoxication. Intoxication includes both drugs and alcohol.
Vehicular Homicide Penalties
Vehicular homicide under sections 1 and 2 are a Class C Felony which carries a prison term of 3 to 15 years.
Vehicular homicide under section 3 is a Class B Felony which carries a prison term of 8 to 30 years.
Vehicular homicide can be elevated to a Class A Felony (Aggravated Vehicular Homicide) which carries a prison term of 15 to 60 years if the above definition is met coupled with:
- The defendant has two or more prior convictions for: DUI, Vehicular Assault, or a combination of the two.
- The defendant has one or more prior convictions for the offense of homicide.
- There was, at the time of the offense, .20% or more, by weight of alcohol in the defendant’s blood and the defendant has one prior conviction for (a) DUI or (b) vehicular assault.
A Case Study of Tennessee Vehicular Homicide Law
Nashville, Tennessee Vehicular Homicide Case Results in Split Confinement. My client was charged with violating Tennessee Code Annotated Section 39-13-213 (Vehicular Homicide) and 55-10-101 (Leaving the Scene of a Personal Injury Accident). He was involved in a fatal accident with a pedestrian in Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee. The arrest report stated that my client struck the victim and left the scene of the accident. Various parts on the scene and eyewitness reports suggested that the vehicle involved was a Ford. The victim was seriously injured and later pronounced deceased at Vanderbilt Hospital. The Defendant turned himself in at criminal warrants and waived his Miranda rights. He gave a statement to Nashville Police and stated he was the driver involved in the accident. He stated that he had been exceeding the speed limit but not sure by how much. The officer added that the street was a darkly lit residential area where the posted speed limit was 30 MPH and populated by children. Then, the defendant stated that he saw a group of people in the roadway and he continued past them in the left lane and struck the victim when he "darted out" in front of him. He advised further that he had been drinking earlier in the day with his most recent consumption being a half pint of Crown Royal between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. approximately 2-3 hours prior to the crash. He stated that he had consumed 3 Bud Lights between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. while fishing. The officer stated that the defendant's clothing smelled of marijuana and his eyes were glossy and dilated. He showed one sign on the HGN and one sign on the Walk and Turn. The defendant stated that he smoked marijuana 3 days ago. He was advised on his DUI rights and agreed to a blood test. He also agreed to let us tow and search his vehicle which he had parked at his home after the crash. The damage to the vehicle matched that of the vehicle involved in the crash. The vehicle was towed and logged into Nashville Police evidence. The witnesses stated that the vehicle was a "good way" off from the victim when they first saw him and the defendant appeared to swerve and pick up speed as though he was attempting to hit the victim. The defendant turned himself in almost 5 hours later after the crash and stated that the reason he fled was because he was afraid that the large group of people were going to beat him up. A plea agreement was reached were my client served one year in jail and the remaining sentence on probation. He avoided serving 12 years in jail. Case number RJA-2.
I help good people restore their lives
-Lee Martin is a Nashville criminal defense lawyer who has gained national recognition as a criminal defense attorney. With over a decade of experience, he knows how to get results in vehicular homicide charges. If you are seeking an experienced criminal defense attorney, use his experiences to your advantage. National Trial Lawyers Top 100 in the areas of DUI and criminal defense.
Related Blog Articles & News