When a person is arrested following a serious or fatal traffic accident in Tennessee, the negative consequences of a conviction can have a far-reaching impact on his or her life. If the wreck resulted in a death, the driver found at fault could face a range of punishments that are dependent upon the charge or charges leveled against him or her. Many of those charged in connection with fatal accidents find themselves facing one of two types of charges for vehicular homicide.
The first is, simply, vehicular homicide. This charge is generally leveled against those who knowingly operate a motor vehicle in a way that presents a risk to others. Drivers who are driving while under the influence or who are involved in street racing at the time of an accident are often charged with vehicular homicide.
The second category is aggravated vehicular homicide, which is a more serious charge. It is often applied in circumstances in which a driver who is responsible for an accident has a history of causing severe injuries or fatalities while driving or who has a history of DUI convictions. A vehicular homicide charge can also be raised to an aggravated charge if a driver is found to have an excessive blood alcohol content at the time of an accident.
When a Tennessee resident finds him or herself facing a charge for vehicular homicide, regardless of whether the charge is aggravated, he or she is also likely facing serious consequences if convicted. Those who find themselves facing serious criminal charges have the right to defend themselves against the charges they face in a court of law. Many who are in this position make the decision to retain experienced defense counsel to assist them with their defense strategies.
Source: Findlaw, "Tennessee Involuntary Manslaughter Laws", Dec. 5, 2014