Paul Allen Barnes from Acworth, Georgia has been charged in connection with a crash that turned fatal on April 13, 2018. The accident occurred along Highway 92 in the southwestern section of Cherokee County just south of Wade Green Road. The accident occurred at around 11:51 p.m.
As a result of the accident, Barnes and his passenger were thrown from the vehicle and onto the road. Jerry Nikkole Acklin, 22 years old, of Acworth, Georgia was Barnes's passenger. Both were taken to local hospitals for treatment of their injuries.
During the investigation of the accident, Acklin passed away on April 19, 2018, as a result of her injuries. Barnes was subsequently arrested on July 21, 2018, after test results were returned to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
As a result of the accident, and the death of his passenger, Barnes is charged with:
- Vehicular homicide in the first degree;
- Driving under the influence (DUI);
- Reckless driving;
- Failure to maintain lane;
- Seat belt violation; and
- Possession of a controlled substance.
Vehicular Homicide Charges in Georgia
A charge of vehicular homicide is one of the most serious charges a Georgia driver can face. Charges can be either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts and circumstances of the case.
A person can be charged with vehicular homicide in the first degree when a driver:
- Without malice aforethought;
- Causes a death by:
- Unlawfully passing a school bus,
- Reckless driving,
- Fleeing or attempting to elude Georgia law enforcement, or
- Leaving the scene of an accident.
If a homicide occurs as a result of any other violation of Georgia law other than those listed above, the charge is a vehicular homicide of the second degree.
Felony or Misdemeanor: It All Depends
Whether the charge of vehicular homicide is a felony or misdemeanor depends on the specific facts of your case.
Misdemeanor charges usually result from a violation of a basic traffic law that causes a death. This includes:
- A speeding violation;
- Following too closely; or
- Failure to maintain lane.
If convicted of a misdemeanor charge, a driver could face up to a maximum of 12 months in jail per death. If multiple deaths were caused as part of the accident, it is possible that the sentences could be "stacked" to run one after the other.
A felony vehicular homicide charge typically occurs as the result of a conviction for:
- Driving under the influence (DUI); or
- Reckless driving.
If convicted of a felony charge of vehicular homicide (first-degree vehicular homicide) the driver could face between 3 to 15 years in state prison per death. These sentences may also be "stacked" creating an incredibly long prison sentence.
Consult a Cherokee County DUI Attorney
If you have been arrested for DUI, or a charge of vehicular homicide, an experienced Cherokee County DUI attorney can protect your rights. There are defenses to your charges, and you have a right to challenge the allegations against you.
Just because you are charged with a crime does not mean that you are guilty. Contact us today.