If you have been involved in a South Carolina car accident involving a
fatality you may be charged with the Criminal Offense of Reckless Homicide.
This is a felony charge that is based when an accident resulting in death
occurs as a result of reckless driving. The law is based on S.C. Code
§ 56-5-2910 and it is prosecuted in the Court of General Sessions
by the Solicitor's office. It is punishable by up to ten years imprisonment
and a five year driver's license suspension.
What is Reckless Driving?
Reckless is a legal term that is used both in criminal as well as in civil
law. Reckless in this context can be defined as either intentionally dangerous
driving, or driving which indicates a complete disregard for the safety
of other motorists, pedestrians or passengers. Most accidents resulting
in a death occur as a result of either an unavoidable collision or simple
negligence – meaning that a reckless driving charge under those
circumstances is improperly made. The same standard for recklessness used
as a basis for the regular Reckless Driving traffic ticket also applies
to Reckless Homicide.
Reckless Homicide Defense
At the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC, in Lexington, South Carolina,
we represent and defend those charged with Reckless Homicide. Many times
those arrested for Reckless Homicide are either young, or have no other
significant criminal history. We recognize that many times the police
may make an arrest for this offense without sufficient evidence of reckless
driving. Police are subject to respond to media coverage, or surviving
family member's urging to prosecute. We know that simply because a
serious accident occurred does not mean that any law was violated. In
fact South Carolina law is clear that "no police officer in investigating
a traffic accident shall necessarily deem the fact that an accident has
occurred as giving rise to the presumption that a violation of law has
occurred." S.C. Code § 56-5-6170.
To begin a defense we carefully interview our client and any other available
witnesses to the accident. We make use of experts in accident reconstruction,
vehicle crashworthiness, forensic evidence analysis, forensic pathologists
and private investigators in building our client's case. In addition
we learn as much as we can about our client's personal background
to enable us to demonstrate to the prosecution and police that prison
should not be the first, or only option sought for our client.
We offer no cost consultations to those charged with Reckless Homicide.
To schedule your consultation contact our office at (888) 301-6004. All
calls are confidential and your consultation will be held at our office
located in downtown Lexington at 316 South Lake Drive.
Examples of Reckless Driving
There are many circumstances which could result in a criminal charge of
reckless driving. Some of these examples include:
- Speeding through a construction zone
- Racing another motorist
- Road rage incidents
- Attempting to outrun the police
- Excessive speed
- Violating multiple traffic laws simultaneously
All Reckless Homicide arrests should be based on reckless driving. This
is a much higher standard than simple carelessness or negligence. Simply
running a red light or speeding before an accident does not mean that
someone is driving recklessly.
Reckless Driving and Felony DUI
Reckless Homicide is a different offense from Felony DUI with Death. For
Felony DUI you must not only be materially and appreciably impaired (the
same standard as in misdemeanor DUI) but also violate another traffic
law causing an accident resulting in death. It doesn't matter how
minor the other violation was. Reckless Homicide does not require any
intoxication, but does require that the driving was reckless.
In some cases those arrested for Felony DUI with Death may be offered a
plea bargain to Reckless Homicide. This may be in cases where the evidence
collection requirements to support a Felony DUI case were not meet by
the police, where the evidence is weak on the driver's impairment
or in a case where the prosecutor is willing to forgo the Felony DUI with
Death statute's mandatory prison sentence.
Contact a Lexington Reckless Homicide Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one is under investigation after being involved in a
serious car accident involving either a fatality or allegations of impairment
it is important that you contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as
possible. We represent those charged with Reckless Homicide and other
driving offenses in Lexington, Columbia and throughout South Carolina.
To schedule your appointment with James Snell about your case contact
us at (888) 301-3532.