DUI Manslaughter Charges for Woman Who Killed Florida Police Officer
On May 3, 2017, a Key West Police Department spokeswoman released a statement announcing the arrest of a woman wanted for her involvement in a fatal car accident. According to a report from ABC WWSB 7 News, the 32-year-old woman was charged with multiple offenses, including DUI manslaughter. The incident occurred on April 8, when the woman and Florida law enforcement official were riding a scooter when they were struck by a car; the officer was killed in the collision. Officials at the scene filed a police report stating that they detected the odor of alcohol on the accused’s breath, and that her eyes were bloodshot. A conviction for DUI manslaughter is a serious matter under Florida law, so it’s critical to hire a skilled criminal defense attorney if you find yourself in a similar situation.
Elements of the Crime of DUI Manslaughter
A person may be convicted of DUI manslaughter if he or she was:
- Driving or found in physical control of a vehicle;
- Under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, or had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent; and
- Directly or indirectly responsible for causing the death of another person.
For purposes of the Florida law, actual physical control means being within or on a vehicle with the ability to operate it. In the case of a car or truck, that would be inside the interior; for a motorcycle, sitting atop the seat may qualify as control.
DUI manslaughter is a second degree felony if you’re convicted, and Florida’s laws on mandatory minimum sentencing applies. Therefore, you may be facing:
- No less than 10 years, 4.5 months in prison, and up to 15 years in prison;
- A maximum of 15 years on probation; and
- Fines not to exceed $10,000.
For mandatory minimum crimes, note that Florida does allow for a downward departure sentence due to mitigating circumstances. Still, the statute requires at least four years’ imprisonment even in the presence of mitigating circumstances.
Impact on Driving Privileges and Other Consequences
In addition, DUI carries administrative penalties that impact your driving privileges, including:
- Permanent revocation of your driver’s license, with the requirement to reapply for a license under certain conditions;
- Impoundment of your vehicle;
- Required community service;
- Completion of a state-approved courts on DUI and controlled substance abuse; and,
- Completion of a medical evaluation and substance abuse treatment.
Trust Your Criminal Case to a Qualified Florida Defense Lawyer
Any DUI charge is a serious matter under Florida law, but you’re facing life-altering penalties if you’re intoxicated in connection with an accident that kills another person. DUI manslaughter is a felony that may mean jail time, fines, probation, and revocation of your driving privileges, but you do have options for fighting the charges. An experienced criminal defense attorney will consult with you to determine the best strategy in your case. Fort Lauderdale lawyer Kevin J. Kulik has defended many clients facing DUIs, both as misdemeanors and felonies, so please contact our office today for a confidential consultation.