Elements of Aggravated Vehicular Homicide – Reckless Operation?

What if you are charged in Columbus, Ohio with Aggravated Vehicular Homicide resulting from reckless driving? A person can be charged with Aggravated Vehicular Homicide in Ohio if he or she causes the death of another while operating a vehicle recklessly. Ohio Rev. Code Section 2903.06(A)(2). This type of Aggravated Vehicular Homicide differs from Aggravated Vehicular Homicide caused by drugs or alcohol, because it requires proof of the mental state of recklessness. It is also a lower level of felony.

Recklessness is defined as “when, with heedless indifference to the consequences, [a person] disregards a known risk that his conduct is likely to cause a certain result or is likely to be of a certain nature.” Ohio Rev. Code section 2901.22(C).

Examples of operating a vehicle recklessly are driving far in excess of the speed limit in heavy traffic or in inclement weather; speeding through a red light or a stop sign; overtaking other vehicles by driving on the berm; or driving in the wrong lane through a turn. If, as the result of reckless driving, you cause the death of another, then you can be charged with Aggravated Vehicular Homicide in Ohio.

Columbus and Franklin County prosecutors will often charge a person with Aggravated Vehicular Homicide as the result of reckless driving, even when alcohol or drugs are involved and there is no other obvious evidence of recklessness. What these prosecutors will do is charge Aggravated Vehicular Homicide twice: one count of the indictment will allege that a vehicular death was caused by drugs or alcohol, and a second count will allege that the same vehicular death was caused by reckless driving. By charging a person with both forms of Aggravated Vehicular Homicide, Columbus prosecutors often believe they can increase the chances of winning at trial.

If you have been charged with Aggravated Vehicular Homicide, with allegations of either recklessness, or the use of alcohol or drugs, please contact one of our Columbus criminal defense lawyers at 614-547-5757 for a free initial consultation.