A Clay County man was arrested on several traffic violations for a May crash that killed a two people in Clay County. The defendant is accused of running a red light and crashing into a car with an elderly couple in it, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Both people inside the other car were killed, the newspaper reported. The driver is charged with driving on a suspended license, a second-degree misdemeanor. The charge has a maximum penalty of up to six months in county jail. He was also cited for running a red light and driving without valid insurance. Neither of those is criminal charges, but is simply a traffic ticket.
In Clay County Traffic Cases where people are killed, there are certainly more serious charges that could apply. Primarily, there is vehicular homicide. However, Florida law defines vehicular homicide as “the killing of a human being, or the killing of an unborn child by any injury to the mother, caused by the operation of a motor vehicle by another in a reckless manner likely to cause the death of, or great bodily harm to, another.” During the investigation in the four months following the crash, investigators must have determined that while the driver did run a red light, he was not driving in a manner that was so reckless it was likely to hurt someone. Even though the crash occurred at noon, police likely also ran toxicology tests. Those generally take about four to six months and, in all likelihood based on the charges, came back negative.
The defendant still could receive minimal jail time for the charge of driving on a suspended license. While criminal charges are certainly important, there are also likely many things at play for a potential civil case. The standard of being negligent in a civil case is far less strict that the “beyond a reasonable doubt” needed to prove a criminal case. That could be a reason why the defendant may choose to contest the red light traffic ticket. When someone simply pays a traffic ticket, they are admitting guilt. That can be detrimental in a civil case because it shows a person admitted to being at fault. It can also hurt in a standard Clay County Traffic Case even when someone is not hurt or killed. By paying the ticket, a driver will be assessed points, which can add up quickly and could eventually result in a driver’s license being suspended or revoked. Our Clay County Traffic Attorney represents people accused of all types of traffic violations – from speeding tickets on up to vehicular homicide.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Clay County Misdemeanor County Violent Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.