Even the most innocent of choices can lead to devastating consequences.
In the state of Florida, DUI Manslaughter is a second-degree felony punishable up to 15 years in prison. If an individual leaves the scene of a crash, and should have known the crash occurred and failed to give their information or render aid, he or she commits a first degree felony which is punishable for up to 30 years in prison.
Imagine you are at dinner with a group of friends. You have a couple of glasses of wine and feel as though you are capable of driving. However, the only thing you have eaten all day is a salad. You are of small stature and you typically do not drink alcohol. Consider the alternative. You did not have anything to drink, but you took a pain killer that your doctor prescribed. You feel fine, although the medicine makes you a bit drowsy.
You leave the restaurant and begin to drive home. You are obeying all of the rules of the road when you drive through a green light and someone pulls out in front of you. An accident occurs where the other driver is at fault. The other driver dies. You think, “The other driver was at fault, I did nothing wrong.”
Think again. Any time a death occurs on the road, an investigation begins. Law enforcement officers are obligated to make sure their reports are thorough. When a death occurs, you may be forced to submit to a blood draw to determine whether you were under the influence of some intoxicating substance that affected your ability to operate a motor vehicle. This can result in DUI manslaughter.
DUI Manslaughter Defense Strategies
Vehicular manslaughter cases can be challenging to defend. The potential penalties can be severe. Some states impose a minimum mandatory sentence of five years in state prison upon conviction. The sentiment of the general public is against defendants in this situation and favor of stricter DUI laws.
Ways to establish a defensive legal strategy in a DUI manslaughter case include:
- Investigating the legality to stop you in the first place.
- All the details surrounding your detention.
- Preserving the evidence against you through scrutiny, such as requesting an independent blood test that is not handled by law enforcement since they have an incentive to lock someone up for the crime.
- Interviewing witnesses while their memories are fresh.
- Providing expert witnesses to help support a defense raised. Power Sellers & Finkelstein,PLS has a team of experts at the ready to assist in complicate DUI manslaughter cases such as showing the defendant’s real BAC at the time of the accident.
- A field sobriety test instructor can often help refute the testimony of the officer who conducted these tests
- A Breathalyzer expert
- Can discuss the need to have the machine calibrated
- Review how to administer the test properly
- Reveal how often readings are inaccurate.
- An expert witness may be used to help reconstruct the events that led up to the accident, review the report and testimony to avoid or refute the prosecutions one-sided viewpoint on who caused the accident.
- Medical experts may be necessary to explain someone’s behavior based on:
- Medical conditions
- Gait problems
- Injury after the accident.
- Research relevant caselaw file and pretrial motions in order to get charges dismissed or incriminating evidence suppressed. This helps when considering
- Potential plea bargains
- Negotiating a favorable agreement the possible consequences of a conviction
The amount of trial time for a DUI manslaughter case is dependent upon number of witnesses and expert witnesses, the evidence, the type of defense used, whether or not a plea agreement is reached, and the strength of the case and many other factors. Get an experienced DUI manslaughter attorney as soon as possible!
If convicted of DUI manslaughter in Florida, you can be punished with:
- Without a legal basis for downward departure from Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code, a minimum of over ten years (124.5 months) imprisonment.
- With a legal basis for a downward departure, a statutory mandatory minimum of four years imprisonment.
- Maximum of fifteen years in prison.
- Maximum of fifteen years of probation.
- Ten-thousand dollar fine.
- Permanent revocation of driving privilege.
It is imperative to consult an experienced DUI attorney who has represented individuals charged with DUI Manslaughter. Read more on choosing the right DUI manslaughter attorney. The strict laws governing these types of charges can be complicated to navigate. An experienced DUI manslaughter attorney should begin your defense immediately. The attorneys at Law Offices of Powers Sellers & Finkelstein, PLC are highly trained and experienced attorneys who have represented many individuals arrested for DUI Manslaughter.
Powers Sellers & Finkelstein, PLC, is a full-service Hillsborough and Pinellas County, Florida criminal defense firm. Conveniently located in Largo, our office is only minutes away for residents of Tampa, Clearwater, and St. Petersburg. Our attorneys regularly handle the criminal defense for residents from:
- Pinellas Park
- Madeira Beach
- Indian Rocks
- Kenneth City
- St. Petersburg
- St. Petersburg Beach,
- Treasure Island
- Clearwater Beach
- Safety Harbor
- Palm Harbor
- Tarpon Springs
If you have any questions or concerns regarding what you need to know about criminal offenses or you need a Pinellas County Criminal Attorney to handle your DUI or DUI Manslaughter case, contact the experienced Clearwater Florida DUI Lawyers at Power Sellers & Finkelstein by calling 727-531-2926 today for your free consultation.