Criminal Defense LawyerLakeland, Tampa, FL

What You Need to Know About DUI Manslaughter in Florida

Nighttime crime scene on a road with secure tape and police car lights.

Any criminal charge in Florida can change your life forever, but DUI manslaughter is one of the most serious and life-altering charges you can face. If convicted, you’re looking at a decade or more in prison, not to mention the stigma and consequences of being a convicted violent felon for the rest of your life.

If you’re facing serious charges, Get Grajek

That’s why you need to get an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side right away. Know your rights, know your options, and take immediate action to protect your future. Here’s what you need to know about DUI manslaughter in Florida.

The elements of a DUI manslaughter charge

In essence, DUI manslaughter means causing a fatal crash while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. There are three elements of a DUI manslaughter charge in Florida:

  • Under the Influence: Like any other DUI crime, DUI manslaughter can only be charged if you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A blood alcohol level of 0.08 or greater counts, as does other intoxication that causes your “normal faculties” to be impaired.
  • Physical Control of a Vehicle: Strictly speaking, DUI manslaughter does not require that you were driving at the time of the crash. It just requires that you were in physical control of a vehicle, meaning you were physically inside and able to operate it.
  • Resulting Death: Finally, there has to be a death that occurred due to the collision. The loss of a fetus capable of living outside the womb counts as a “death” for the purposes of DUI manslaughter.

What are the penalties for DUI Manslaughter in Florida?

In Florida, DUI Manslaughter is a second-degree felony that carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. In general, the minimum sentence for a second-degree felony is three years; however, Florida’s sentencing guidelines specify that for DUI Manslaughter, the minimum sentence is 10 years. So, if you are convicted of DUI Manslaughter, you are most likely looking at 10 to 15 years in prison, plus a fine of up to $10,000, loss of your driver’s license, and other consequences.

How an experienced attorney can help you fight back

DUI Manslaughter has several elements, and the burden is on the prosecution to prove each and every element beyond a reasonable doubt. An experienced DUI defense attorney can undermine the prosecution’s case in several ways, including but not limited to:

  • Challenging the DUI test results. Breathalyzers are often poorly calibrated and unreliable. Blood tests can have chain of custody issues. Field sobriety exercises, meanwhile, are worse than useless. If the prosecution can’t prove you were under the influence, they can’t convict you of DUI manslaughter.
  • Challenging police procedure. If the police lacked probable cause to search your vehicle or to arrest you, anything they discovered in the course of the unlawful search or unlawful arrest can be thrown out.
  • Challenging physical control. In some circumstances, your attorney may be able to argue that you were not in actual physical control of a vehicle.
  • Challenging causation. Just because you were driving under the influence and involved in a fatal crash doesn’t prove your impairment caused the death. In some circumstances, you can beat a DUI manslaughter charge by challenging causation.

Don't take chances with your future. Get Grajek

The key is to get an experienced DUI defense attorney on your side right away to start investigating and building your winning legal strategy. If you’re facing serious charges, get a lawyer with a winning track record in high-stakes cases. Call or contact us online today and Get Grajek.

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