Have you Been Charged with Homicide by Vessel in Georgia?
Georgia has numerous lakes that thousands of people visit every year. Boating activities are very popular and with the increase of people flocking to the lakes, it makes it more dangerous for people to be on the water. Multiple deaths occur every year on the lake and the penalties for not following Georgia Boating Laws can be substantial. If you or a loved one has been charged with homicide by boat in Georgia, you need representation. The Georgia Homicide by Vessel Attorneys at Lawson and Berry have decades of experience and are ready to assist with your case today! Don't wait; contact our offices today.
Homicide by Vessel in Georgia
O.C.G.A. §52-7-12.2 governs Homicide by Vessel in Georgia and states:
(a) Any person who, without malice aforethought, causes the death of another person through the violation of subsection (j) of Code Section 52-7-8.2, Code Section 52-7-12 or 52-7-12.1, subsection (b) of Code Section 52-7-13, or subsection (c) of Code Section 52-7-25 commits the offense of homicide by vessel in the first degree. A person convicted under this subsection shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than three years nor more than 15 years.
(b) Any operator of a vessel who, without malice aforethought, causes a collision or accident which causes the death of another person and leaves the scene of the collision or accident in violation of subsection (a) of Code Section 52-7-14 commits the offense of homicide by vessel in the first degree and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than three years nor more than 15 years.
(c) Any person who causes the death of another person, without an intention to do so, by violating any provision of this title other than subsection (j) of Code Section 52-7-8.2, Code Section 52-7-12 or 52-7-12.1, subsection (b) of Code Section 52-7-13, subsection (a) of Code Section 52-7-14, or subsection (c) of Code Section 52-7-25 commits the offense of homicide by vessel in the second degree when such violation is the cause of said death. A person convicted under this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished as provided in Code Section 17-10-3.
Georgia Case Law
A man was convicted of homicide by vessel in the second degree in Mitchell v. State. Harry Boothe Mitchell was driving a boat on Lake Lanier with three passengers on board. A smaller boat was also on the lake that day and had 6 passengers on it. They noticed that Mitchell's boat was approaching that a speed above idle and it looked like he didn't see their boat. They began to wave their arms and yell. Since it did not look like Mitchell was going to stop, they all jumped into the water. Mitchell struck one of the passengers, Richard Rocks, when he was in the water and he was pronounced dead by paramedics. Mitchell was charged with two counts of homicide by vessel in the second degree, one count of reckless operation of a vessel, and four counts for violating rules of boat traffic. The Court uphold the charges. They found there was sufficient evidence demonstrating that Mitchell violated the rules of boating by going over idle speed within 100 feet of the victim while he was in the water. Further, he was convicted of second degree homicide by boat because he operating a boat above idle speed while the victim was within 100 feet of his boat. 255 Ga. App. 585, (2002).
Penalty for a Conviction of Homicide by Vessel
A conviction for Homicide by Vessel in the first degree will be punished as a felony and will come with a prison term between three and fifteen years. A felony conviction could affect you obtaining credit, jobs, houses, and could cause you to lose your license. It is crucial to have an experienced Homicide by Vessel Attorney in Georgia on your side. Contact one of ours today.
For Homicide by Vessel in the second degree, it will be charged as a misdemeanor. Misdemeanor offenses in Georgia are punished by a fine of up to $1,000, up to one year in jail, or both. In addition, if a six-month sentence or less is imposed, the sentencing judge has the authority and discretion to allow the sentence to be served on weekends or during the nonworking hours of the defendant. O.C.G.A. §17-10-3
Defenses to Homicide by Vessel in Georgia
There are multiple arguments your Georgia Homicide by Vessel Lawyer can make to protect you. You may think there is nothing that can be done but that couldn't be further from the truth. Some examples of arguments your Attorney could use:
- Whether or not you were in the boundaries of the boating safety zone
- What speed you were going
- Were you guilty of one of the predicate offenses
This is not an exhaustive list of the defenses that could apply to your case, so contact our homicide by vessel attorneys in Georgia today to receive a free case evaluation!
Contact Us Today
No one knows better than our office the seriousness of Georgia's Homicide by Vessel statutes. You are facing severe penalties, and we are prepared to help you fight your case. Our Georgia Homicide by Vessel Lawyers are here 24 hours a day, 365 days a year even nights, weekends, and holidays. Contact us today for a free consultation.