Driving Under the Influence (DUI) resulting in manslaughter is a serious crime in Florida. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 30 people are killed in drunk driving crashes every day; more than 10,000 people are killed annually. Enraged family members of victims often ask for the maximum number of years, which is why experienced criminal defense is needed immediately upon a DUI manslaughter arrest.
DUI Manslaughter in Florida
The elements of DUI manslaughter in Florida include the following:
- The driver was in actual custody of the vehicle;
- The driver was under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance causing impairment of their normal faculties or the driver has a Blood Alcohol Level (BAC) of 0.08 or higher; and
- The driver causes the death of another person, either directly or indirectly.
Mandatory Minimum Sentencing for Florida DUI Manslaughter
As a second degree felony under Florida statute 316.193, DUI manslaughter carries a mandatory minimum sentencing requirement of no less than four years, with a maximum of up to 15 years. Depending on the circumstances of the homicide, the court may grant the prosecution additional years on top of the 15-year maximum. These extenuating circumstances include who the victim was, past DUI convictions, the nature of the collision, and the defendant’s blood alcohol level. While DUI manslaughter convictions have surpassed 30 years in some Florida cases, the average conviction in Florida, however, is just 9.49 years, according to the Miami Herald. In addition to prison time, if convicted of DUI manslaughter you may also be penalized with the following:
- Permanent revocation of your driver’s license;
- Impounded vehicle;
- 15 years of probation;
- $10,000 fine;
- Community service; and
- DUI substance abuse course and substance abuse treatment.
Moreover, defendants may be facing additional charges if they committed a hit and run, injured other occupants or non-occupants, fled from law enforcement, or killed other victims.
Defense to a Port St. Lucie DUI Manslaughter
Nor all DUI manslaughter charges stick. Defense includes a faulty or improperly administered blood, breath, or field sobriety test; the law enforcement officer made an illegal traffic stop; or the officer did not have probable cause to make a traffic stop. Police may also blame an intoxicated driver for causing the collision simply because of their intoxication. For example, despite a drunk driver going the speed limit, staying in their lane, and driving through an intersection with right of way through a green light may not be found guilty of DUI manslaughter if the other driver—the driver who died in the crash— ran the red light and caused the collision.
You Need to Call a Port St. Lucie DUI Manslaughter Attorney As Soon as Possible
The sooner you seek experienced legal representation, the better off you will be. A Port St. Lucie criminal defense attorney may be able to have the case dismissed or your sentence reduced. However, you must take action immediately. Call the Port St. Lucie criminal attorneys at Baginski Brandt & Brandt today at 772-466-0707to schedule a free consultation.