DUI Manslaughter Lawyers in Daytona Beach, Florida (FL)
Daytona Beach, Florida does not see as many driving under the influence (DUI) incidents as other cities in Florida, including, among others, Destin, Sarasota, and Key West. However, DUIs still happen in and around Daytona Beach, and unfortunately, some DUIs end in the death of a person involved in a DUI accident. The reality is that any automobile accident, whether the accident involves a passenger vehicle, a pickup truck, a motorcycle, or tractor-trailer, among others, the outcome can result in catastrophic injuries and death.
When adding alcohol or drugs (both recreational and prescription) to the mix, the consequences of any accident include not only severe injuries and potential death, but also harsh criminal penalties under Florida law. An individual who is arrested for driving under the influence may face DUI manslaughter charges if any person involved in the accident was killed. This person could be a passenger, another driver, a pedestrian, or anyone else who fell victim to the accident.
In addition to significant jail time, substantial monetary fines, probation, and the loss of a Florida driver’s license, individuals convicted of DUI manslaughter are forever deemed felons, and being a felon in Daytona Beach disadvantages people who try to enter the workforce, find a place to live, or even go to college. The consequences of a Daytona Beach DUI manslaughter conviction are endless.
However, having a strong Daytona Beach DUI Manslaughter Defense Attorney to advocate on behalf of the accused can help to fight a DUI manslaughter charge and seek dismissal, an amendment of the DUI charge to a less serious DUI-related offense, or reach another result that is more fair for the accused. While no Daytona Beach DUI Manslaughter Defense Attorney can guarantee a positive result, a highly skilled and reputable attorney with ample resources can provide a person with the best defense possible.
All accused persons are afforded constitutional rights under both the U.S. constitution and Florida’s constitution. Police officers, prosecutors, and other law enforcement officials must follow the law when accusing and charging individuals with DUI manslaughter in Daytona Beach. Every accused individual deserves to have an attorney who will defend the individual’s rights to the fullest extent possible. If evidence is illegally obtained, if a person is not read his/her Miranda rights, or if evidence is insufficient (i.e., if a breathalyzer test results in a blood-alcohol content (BAC) reading of less than .08, the legal limit in Florida), among other possibilities, an attorney may have grounds to seek the dismissal of a Daytona Beach DUI manslaughter charge.
Too much is on the line to fight a Daytona Beach DUI manslaughter charge without the help of a superior attorney and law firm. If you have been charged with DUI manslaughter in Daytona Beach or believe you may be facing any type of Daytona Beach DUI charge, it is imperative that you act quickly to secure legal representation. At Musca Law, our Daytona Beach DUI Manslaughter Defense Lawyers handle DUI matters on a regular basis and have the necessary resources to provide you with the legal representation you need and deserve. To find out how Musca Law can help you, contact our office 24/7 by calling toll-free at (888) 484-5057.
DUI Manslaughter Charges Under Florida Law
Manslaughter and murder charges are, without question, some of the harshest crimes in Florida and throughout the United States. When dealing with most murder and manslaughter crimes, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused person had the intent to kill another person (whether such killing was premeditated, in the heat of the moment, or unplanned will determine the level of murder or manslaughter offense a person faces).
However, when dealing with involuntary manslaughter, such as a DUI manslaughter charge, the prosecution does not need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an impaired driver intended to kill another person in the course of driving behind the wheel while drunk or on drugs. Rather, pursuant to Florida Statutes §316.193(3)(c)(3), the prosecution must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The accused individual was operating a vehicle or had control over a vehicle at the time of the DUI accident;
- The DUI accident, through the accused individual’s operation of a vehicle, resulted in the death of another person or unborn child who could have lived if born (known as a “quick child”);
- The accused individual’s normal faculties were impaired from the consumption of alcohol or drugs at the time of the DUI accident; and
- The accused individual’s blood-alcohol concentration was .08 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or by .08 grams of alcohol per every 210 liters of breath.
With any crime, to be found guilty, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that each of the elements of DUI manslaughter listed above have been satisfied. If the prosecution cannot prove even ONE element of the crime has been met, then an accused person cannot be convicted of DUI manslaughter.
While the Daytona Beach prosecution has a high burden to meet, they are often successful in securing guilty verdicts, even if it is questionable whether all elements of DUI manslaughter have been met. Prosecutors fight endlessly to convict individuals even when the facts are not so clear.
As such, it is imperative that any accused person has a Daytona Beach DUI Manslaughter Defense Lawyer to represent his/her rights who (1) knows what to expect from prosecutors, (2) has a good reputation in the community with other defense attorneys, prosecutors, and judges, and (3) has the requisite experience, dedication, and successful track record.
An attorney without specialized experience handling Daytona Beach DUI manslaughter cases may not adequately represent the rights of an accused person. A person’s livelihood is on the line when facing a serious felony that can result in substantial jail time and fines. Therefore, when finding a defense lawyer, an accused person must seek to retain a lawyer who knows how to poke holes in the prosecution’s case and provide his/her client with a solid defense to the alleged crime.
Penalties for DUI Manslaughter in Volusia County, Florida
Under Florida law, a DUI manslaughter is considered a second-degree felony. A person found guilty of DUI manslaughter faces a maximum of fifteen (15) years in prison as well as a fine not to exceed $10,000. While judges generally have discretion to reduce prison terms under Florida law, in the case of a DUI manslaughter conviction, a judge only has discretion to reduce the prison sentence to a minimum of four (4) years pursuant to the Florida Criminal Punishment Code (Florida Statutes §921.002). As such, a person facing a Daytona Beach DUI manslaughter charge should expect to serve jail time if he or she is convicted.
Given jail time is a real possibility for any person facing a DUI manslaughter charge, an attorney representing the accused should be fully aware of the harsh consequences resulting from a DUI manslaughter conviction in Florida. If an attorney is not familiar with sentencing guidelines, he or she should not be representing a person accused of DUI manslaughter. This is yet another reason why who a person chooses to represent him/her in court plays such a large role in the outcome of a criminal case.
Additional Consequences Associated with a Daytona Beach DUI Manslaughter Conviction
Probation following a Daytona Beach DUI manslaughter conviction is a certainty. The purpose of probation is not only to monitor a person’s behavior for a certain period of time following conviction (and following completion of a prison term), but is also to help reintegrate a person into society and promote sobriety. Any violation of a probationary term under Florida law is likely to result in additional jail time.
While a judge will impose standard terms of probation that apply in all DUI manslaughter cases, he or she has some discretion to impose specific probationary terms that are unique to a person’s case. For example, a judge may require that a person complete community service, wear an electronic monitoring device (ankle bracelet, for example), undergo random alcohol and drug testing, along with substance abuse counseling.
Florida is a very diverse state which is home to many immigrants. Many immigrants are green card holders and not yet United States citizens. Therefore, if a non-citizen is convicted of DUI manslaughter, he/she faces the potential for deportation. While such a move can be fought in immigration court, avoiding a harsh DUI manslaughter conviction is the best way to help prevent the possibility of deportation. Avoiding conviction starts with having the right attorney.
The additional consequences of how a DUI manslaughter conviction affects a person’s life going forward are exponential. Whatever a person’s life goals may be, such goals are challenging to achieve with a felony on record. While a person’s driver’s license is technically revoked following a DUI manslaughter conviction, a person may have a chance at receiving a “Hardship” driver’s license.
Receiving a Florida “Hardship” Driver’s License After a DUI Manslaughter Conviction
Under Florida law, a person who has been convicted of DUI manslaughter will have his/her driver’s license permanently revoked. However, the law also allows some discretion to reinstate a person’s driver’s license (called a “Hardship” license) if certain conditions are satisfied, which include the following:
- The person has not driven for at least five (5) years prior to submitting an application for reinstatement of his/her driver’s license;
- The person has not consumed alcohol or drugs;
- The person has not faced any additional arrests for drug or alcohol-related offenses and has not been found to be driving while on a revoked license;
- The person’s vehicle has an ignition interlock device installed, and such device has been installed for at least two years prior to applying for reinstatement of his/her driver’s license; and
- The person has successfully completed Florida’s DUI educational program, has submitted to random drug/alcohol testing, and has agreed to supervision by the DUI program for the entire period of the hardship license.
One violation of any term of the hardship license agreement will result in immediate revocation of the license.
Preserving Evidence in Your Daytona Beach DUI Manslaughter Case
Evidence is crucial when proving or disproving the prosecution’s case. The prosecution will rely on physical evidence (such as BAC test results), witness testimony, and evidence available at the scene of a DUI accident to prove a defendant committed the crime of DUI manslaughter in Daytona Beach. Evidence is equally important to the defense of a person’s case. If there is any evidence that suggests the prosecution cannot meet its burden of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, an accused person’s Daytona Beach DUI Manslaughter Defense Attorney must present such evidence in court to seek dismissal or other relief regarding the DUI manslaughter charge.
At Musca Law, our team of Daytona Beach DUI Manslaughter Defense Attorneys understand how important it is to preserve all evidence. Crime scenes do not last very long, so any evidence that can be obtained shortly after a crime has allegedly happened is extremely important. As such, as soon as our attorneys are retained to help a person charged with DUI manslaughter in Daytona Beach, they immediately seek to preserve all available evidence, which may entail visiting the scene of the incident/accident, taking pictures, and talking to both the accused and any witnesses. Additionally, obtaining autopsy or toxicology results of the person killed in a DUI accident can be critical when building a defense. For example, if the deceased person was impaired at the time of the accident, such evidence can be helpful when defending a DUI manslaughter charge.
At Musca Law, we know what to expect from police officers, investigators, and the prosecution. The police will seek to have an accident reconstruction expert tell the story of what happened. Like the prosecution, the defense team will have a chance to present experts to explain what the evidence shows from the defendant’s perspective. For every allegation the prosecution has, the defense needs to present evidence to rebut the assertion. Having the necessary evidence to do so can make or break a defendant’s defense.
Strategies for Going to Trial – Fighting Your Daytona Beach DUI Manslaughter Charge
DUI manslaughter cases tend to move sluggishly through the court system, which can cause the accused quite a significant amount of frustration. At Musca Law, we get the frustration, especially in a case where the accused is held on a high bond and cannot have it immediately posted. Our attorneys do not rush cases to trial, which often proves counterproductive. Alternatively, the Daytona Beach DUI manslaughter defense lawyers at Musca Law diligently examine the facts of each case in order to create the strongest defense strategy possible.
Each aspect of our client’s case provides our seasoned team of Daytona Beach DUI manslaughter attorneys with the opportunity to advocate for him or her. Specifically, one of the most critical stages of a DUI manslaughter case is the pre-trial motion stage. This stage may be split into three different categories, as follows: motions for discovery of the state’s evidence, motions to dismiss and suppress, and motions in limine.
During the discovery phase of a DUI manslaughter case, our lawyers file motions to compel the state to produce all of their evidence, including exculpatory evidence. Upon obtaining such evidence, the prosecutor must produce it to the court for the defense’s review. If a prosecutor refuses to turn over this evidence, our skilled team of Daytona Beach DUI manslaughter attorneys will file a motion to compel him or her to produce it. The government must also submit to the court all evidence that it intends on using at trial.
Once the discovery phase has ended, the defense will file a motion to dismiss as well as a motion to suppress, if applicable. A motion to dismiss can result in the court throwing out some or all of the charges that are pending against the accused. However, a motion to suppress can also be filed to prevent the court from admitting evidence that was obtained pursuant to an improper search and seizure by law enforcement. Also, statements made to police in violation of a person’s Miranda rights could be another effective tool for excluding damning evidence from trial.
Lastly, a motion in limine is a motion that the presiding judge hears which serves the purpose of shaping the evidence that the jury will hear. Specifically, a motion in limine serves to remove inflammatory, prejudicial, or irrelevant evidence from trial. Motions in limine could also request that the judge prevent the prosecution from attempting to admit expert testimony that does not meet Florida’s evidentiary standards.
Musca Law Stands Ready to Defend Your Rights
If you or a loved one is facing a Daytona Beach DUI manslaughter charge, act quickly to seek the advice of a seasoned Daytona Beach Criminal Defense Attorney. Your constitutional rights are on the line and you need the best defense possible from the start. Musca Law is a large criminal defense firm that has extensive experience handling serious criminal charges. To speak with a Daytona Beach DUI Manslaughter Defense Attorney about your criminal matter, contact Musca Law today by calling (888) 484-5057 24/7. We look forward to helping you in any way we can.