Much has changed in the practice of Florida criminal defense during COVID. With varying orders being issued by the Florida Supreme Court, the Chief Judges of the Circuits, County and local municipalities, we are all dealing with the semi-shutdown as best we can. It seems that new orders, tweaking the last set, are made about every other week.
To prove a criminal case of vehicular homicide in Florida, the State must prove reckless driving plus one additional fact, the death of a person. Vehicular homicide, simply stated reckless driving plus a death caused by the reckless driving.
Tony Stewart's crash that killed another driver, Kevin Ward Jr., will be investigated by law enforcement. A few minutes into the business day and I am already being asked "for what?" While some feel this is an incident for which Mr. Ward waived any civil actions by assuming the risk of death when he exited his vehicle and tried to confront a race car,, there are others that want our government to investigate all incidents of death with an eye towards prosecution.
Recently I took a Reckless Driving with Property Damage case to trial. Reckless Driving is a criminal traffic offense. Recklessness requires the State to prove a willful and wanton driving pattern likely to cause damage. Furthermore, Reckless Driving is needed to prove Vehicular Homicide, but not DUI Manslaughter. Careless driving is a civil citation, see the blog on the difference between reckless driving and careless driving for more.
In Florida criminal and traffic law there is an enormous difference between reckless driving and careless driving. While many people use the terms "reckless driving" and "careless driving" interchangeably, you should never hear a traffic attorney or criminal defense lawyer do so. The terms do not mean the same thing and are separate and distinct criminal or civil traffic offenses.