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Defending a DUI Manslaughter Charge

DUI charges are taken very seriously under Florida law. Depending on the details of your particular incident, a conviction can result in incarceration, high fines and the loss of your driving privileges. When faced with a DUI charge, it is important to secure the services of an experienced attorney to protect your well-being and rights.

A resident of the Florida panhandle was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison for a DUI incident that allegedly led to the death of one individual and caused severe injury to two others. The 21-year-old pleaded no contest to DUI manslaughter, along with several other charges. As reported by WTXL TV, the details of the case are as follows:

  • The offender was allegedly speeding on Highway 98, when his vehicle struck an SUV in as intersection;
  • The SUV reportedly flipped over and impacted an additional car;
  • The SUV driver died upon impact; and
  • Blood alcohol tests determined that the driver’s alcohol level was at 0.16.

Florida Law

Under Florida law, an alcohol level of 0.8 or higher is considered impaired and drivers with this level of alcohol concentration, or higher, are classified as driving under the influence. DUI manslaughter applies when a person driving under the influence of alcohol causes the death of another individual. This felony offense is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, with a mandatory minimum of four years imprisonment. A conviction can also result in significantly high administrative fines and revocation of your Florida driving privileges.

Other felony level DUI charges under Florida law include:

  • A third DUI offense within 10 years, which is classified as a class three felony;
  • Fourth, fifth, or sixth DUI convictions, regardless of the time frame, are also charged as class three felonies; and
  • A DUI berious bodily injury is classified as a class three felony as well. This charge may apply when a person, driving under the influence:
    • Causes injury to another that could result in death;
    • Causes permanent disfigurement of another; and/or
    • Causes serious injury to the organs of another.

A class three felony is punishable by up to five years of incarceration and a fine up to $5,000. These serious penalties exemplify the importance of securing an attorney to represent you in your case. In developing a defense, your lawyer may employ several tactics, including:

  • Questioning the validity of any field sobriety tests given at the scene of the accident;
  • Creating doubt that you were actually operating the vehicle, especially in situations where there is no visual witness to testify;
  • Challenging the validity and accuracy of the alcohol test, based on the amount of time between the consumption of alcohol and the taking of the test; and/or
  • Presenting law enforcement’s failure to give mandatory implied consent warnings. These notifications let drivers know about the possible penalties of refusing to submit to breath or blood alcohol testing.

Contact the Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group at (813) 803-6518 for a free case evaluation. Our experienced Tampa attorneys can fight aggressively to defend your freedom and good reputation.

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