Florida DUI Manslaughter Case: Jury Deliberates in Collier County Case
A jury in Collier County, FL began deliberations this week in the case of a man charged with DUI manslaughter, according to a report in the Naples Daily News. Prosecutors allege that the accused caused a car accident in December 2015, specifically by rear-ending a truck that was sent over the median. The truck then struck a minivan, resulting in the death of one man and severe injuries to three other individuals. The defendant’s speed and intoxication level are both factors in the jury’s deliberations: He was driving 58 miles per hour in a 45 miles per hour zone, and his blood alcohol concentration was .140 percent six hours after the collision. DUI manslaughter is an extremely serious charge under state law, with the potential of a life prison sentence if convicted. It’s critical that you hire a Florida criminal defense attorney right away to protect your interests.
Overview of DUI Manslaughter in Florida: State law defines DUI manslaughter as when you:
- Drive a vehicle, or are in actual physical control of a vehicle;
- Cause the death of another person, by direct or indirect means; and,
- At the time, you were either:
- Under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, such that your faculties are impaired; OR,
- Your blood alcohol content is .08 percent or higher, as measured by a breathalyzer or chemical test.
Penalties for DUI Manslaughter: As a second degree felony with a severity of Level 8 under Florida’s system of ranking crimes, DUI manslaughter carries significant penalties for a conviction. Plus, the crime triggers the state’s mandatory minimum sentencing regulations. Therefore, you face:
- A minimum of 124.5 months in prison and maximum up to 15 years in prison;
- Up to 15 years on probation;
- Permanent revocation of your driving privileges;
- Impoundment of your vehicle; and,
- Required completion of approved courses or treatment plans for DUI and substance abuse.
Potential Defenses: It may be possible to contest the allegations or have the DUI manslaughter charges reduced by presenting an applicable defense, such as:
- The field sobriety tests you were forced to undergo were improperly administered or you had medical reasons for failing;
- There was insufficient probable cause for an officer to believe that you were impaired by alcohol or a controlled substance, which means any evidence obtained afterwards cannot be admitted in court; or,
- The breathalyzer test results were improper because officers didn’t follow proper protocol or failed to properly maintain the equipment.
Fight DUI Manslaughter Charges With a Qualified Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer
Florida has been cracking down on drunk driving for years, handing down especially severe sentences when an offender causes the death of another person. Still, those accused of DUI manslaughter are entitled to their day in court, where it’s possible to contest the charges and present proper defenses in the case. Attorney Kevin J. Kulik has been representing Fort Lauderdale-area clients in DUI manslaughter cases for years, amassing the experience and legal background necessary to fight for your rights. Please contact our office today for a confidential consultation.