Two SC felony offenses are somewhat confusingly similar. Felony DUI and reckless homicide are almost interchangeably chargeable, i.e. if the accused has allegedly killed someone in an automobile accident, in a lot of factual scenarios either Felony DUI or reckless homicide can be charged. If a reckless homicide involves alcohol it could almost always be charged as a Felony DUI.
What is the difference though between a Felony DUI and a Reckless Homicide?
Felony DUI requires that the accused:
- Operated a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol or both, and
- Did something else against the law, whether traffic law or duties imposed by the court, for example, failed to maintain lane or acted negligently, and
- Proximately caused great bodily injury or death to a person other than himself, including passengers, pedestrians, and other motorists (proximate causation is limited in time to 3 years)
For more information see What is a Felony DUI?
Reckless Homicide, a different felony, on the other hand requires:
- the accused drove in reckless disregard for the safety of others, and
- death ensues within three years as a proximate result of injury received by the above reckless driving.
Basically, all that means is the accused must have proximately caused a death by his or her reckless driving.
So, what are the differences in the offense:
- Reckless Homicide doesn’t require alcohol or drugs
- Reckless Homicide requires the accused to have acted recklessly, breaking a traffic law may not be enough.
- Reckless Homicide requires the accused to have proximately caused a death, although Felony DUI can also be charged to an accused who caused a death.
The main difference though lies in the penalties:
|Felony DUI||Reckless Homicide|
|For causing great bodily injury:
|Not applicable to causing great injury|
|For causing death:
|For causing death:either or both:
and a 5 year driver’s license suspension, but reducible to 1 year if certain conditions are met
SC DUI Attorney
If you have been charged with felony DUI or any other crime, contact the attorneys at Reeves, Aiken & Hightower. Browse our website, and compare our credentials with those of attorneys at any other firm. Then, call us at 877-374-5999 or contact us at this link for a private consultation.