There is probably nothing scarier than being accused of intentionally causing the death of another person. As experienced Atlanta criminal attorneys, the Margolis Legal Group is here to help. Murder in Georgia is punishable by imprisonment for life, or, under certain circumstances, death. In Georgia, there are two types of acts that fall under the murder statute.
Malice Murder: This is what most of us think of as murder. One person intentionally, with ‘malice aforethought,’ takes the life of another. In defining ‘malice,’ Georgia law provides that malice can be either express or implied. Quoting from the law: “Express malice is a deliberate intention to take the life of another human being which is manifested by external circumstances capable of proof. Malice shall be implied where no considerable provocation appears and where all the circumstances of the killing show an abandoned and malignant heart.” (O.C.G.A. §16-5-1)
Felony Murder: A person may be charged with Felony Murder when a death occurs during the commission of a felony, even though there may not have been any intent to kill. For example: a person commits arson by burning down a building. Someone is trapped in the building and dies in the fire. Even though our arsonist didn’t intend to kill anyone, and in fact may not have even known the person was in the building when he set the fire, he can be charged with felony murder because the death occurred during the commission of a felony.
Vehicular Homicide: You’ve just been in a bad accident. The police decided you were at fault, and wrote you a ticket for a traffic violation, or perhaps arrested you for Driving Under the Influence (DUI). The other driver was taken away in an ambulance. Several days later, you find out that the other driver has died from injuries sustained in the accident. Instead of that traffic ticket or misdemeanor DUI charge, you are now facing charges of Vehicular Homicide.
When a death occurs during the commission of DUI, Reckless Driving, Fleeing to Elude a Police Officer, or Failure to Stop for a School Bus, a person can be charged with Vehicular Homicide in the 1st Degree. This offense is a felony, punishable by three (3) to fifteen (15) years in prison. When a death occurs during the commission of any other traffic offense, such as Failure to Yield, Failure to Stop at a Stop Sign, or Failure to Maintain Lane, a person can be charged with Vehicular Homicide in the 2nd Degree, which is a misdemeanor punishable by up to twelve (12) months in jail.
Murder and homicide cases require extensive investigation and exhaustive preparation. In addition, it is usually necessary in cases like this to bring in experts in fields such as ballistics or accident reconstruction to challenge the State’s scientific evidence. If you or someone you know is charged with a homicide, make sure you have an aggressive, experienced and determined Atlanta criminal attorney on your side.