DUI Manslaughter in Florida
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. You may even receive a manslaughter charge, if the accident results in death. When faced with DUI allegations, it is important to secure the services of an experienced Florida criminal law attorney who can protect your rights.
A resident of the Florida panhandle was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison for a drunk driving incident that allegedly led to the death of one individual and caused severe injury to two others. The 21-year-old defendant plead no contest to DUI manslaughter and 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 reportedly struck an SUV in an intersection;
- The SUV reportedly flipped over and impacted an additional car;
- The SUV driver died upon impact; and,
- Blood alcohol tests reportedly determined that the driver’s alcohol level was at 0.16 – double the legal limit of .08.
Under Florida law, a blood alcohol level of 0.8 or higher is considered impaired. Drivers with this level of blood alcohol concentration can be charged with driving under the influence. Even a first conviction for driving under the influence can result in nine months in jail, fines of $2000, and the suspension of driving privileges for as much as a year. A second conviction can result in up to twelve months in jail, fines of $2000 and suspension for a period of time up to a year. After three convictions, subsequent actions can result in jail time up to five years and the permanent revocation of driving privileges.
DUI manslaughter applies when a person diving 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 significant administrative fines, increased insurance rates, and the revocation of your Florida driving privileges.
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
- 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.
If you are facing a charge of driving under the influence, contact an experienced Florida defense attorney to discuss the merits of your case. Call the Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group at 813-803-6518 for a consultation. Our attorneys defend clients in the Tampa area.