Accidents happen, but the consequences can greatly vary. If you’re caught driving under the influence (DUI) in Florida and cause a fatal accident, you could be facing the charge of DUI manslaughter. Navigating this legal territory requires the expertise of a skilled DUI Lawyer. That’s why we make ourselves available 24/7 at Dale Carson Law. You need a skilled attorney on your side, all the time.
DUI Lawyer Shares Florida Statutes on DUI Manslaughter
Florida’s DUI manslaughter statute (Florida Statute 316.193) outlines the core elements of the charge:
- Driving a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol to the degree that it impairs your normal faculties, or having a blood alcohol level in excess of 0.08, and
- Driving or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle, and
- The operation of the vehicle results in the death of another.
Penalties for DUI Manslaughter:
DUI manslaughter is categorized as a second-degree felony, entailing penalties such as:
- Prison time up to 15 years with a minimum mandatory sentence of 4 years.
- Permanent suspension of driver’s license.
- Fines up to $10,000.
- Vehicle impoundment.
- Mandatory completion of a DUI Substance Abuse Course.
- Community service obligations.
- Psychosocial evaluation and substance abuse treatment.
- Victim Impact Panel.
- Tag Impoundment.
- Ignition Interlock Device.
- Establishing Intoxication: Successfully challenging evidence of intoxication can be pivotal. Law enforcement’s utilization of breath, blood, or urine samples can sometimes yield flawed results due to improper usage or maintenance. Deviations from standardized operating procedures may render the outcomes inadmissible. Furthermore, field sobriety exercises conducted by Florida officers are subjective as they lack knowledge of an individual’s baseline coordination and balance. These tests become unreliable if an injury or disability affects performance.
- Improper Police Protocol: Law enforcement adheres to a specific protocol during arrests, encompassing the communication of Miranda rights, accurate documentation of reports, proper handling of evidence, and provision of options during sobriety testing. Any deviation from this protocol constitutes a breach of rights. The necessity of probable cause to conduct a DUI test is pivotal, and failure to document or communicate the rationale behind suspected impairment can jeopardize the validity of the arrest.
- Proximate Cause: It is important to make a connection between the defendant’s actions and the resulting fatality. If the defendant’s actions didn’t contribute directly to the death, they cannot be convicted of DUI manslaughter in Florida. Other factors such as vehicle malfunction or pre-existing health conditions could have played a role in the fatality. Demonstrating these factors can be complex and often requires a comprehensive independent investigation, highlighting the necessity of adept legal representation.
- Control of the Vehicle: Disputing the actual physical control of the vehicle becomes pertinent when the accident’s circumstances are ambiguous and lack eyewitnesses. In such instances, the prosecution bears the onus of proving this element. The driver’s location within the vehicle and their possession of the vehicle’s keys upon the police’s arrival emerge as crucial factors in this determination.
Contact Our DUI Lawyer at Dale Carson Law
If you, or someone you know, needs a DUI lawyer for legal representation, contact our team of experts at 904-355-6777. Read more on our website about DUI’s.