DUI Manslaughter Lawyer in Jacksonville, Florida (FL)
Florida DUI Manslaughter Laws, Charges, Penalties & Defenses
DUI Manslaughter in Jacksonville, Florida (FL)
The state of Florida imposes severe consequences on an individual who drives while impaired by alcohol or drugs and ultimately causes an accident. Under Florida Statute Section 316,193(3)(c)(3), it is a second-degree felony if the driver is charged with DUI manslaughter. In Florida, a person can face DUI manslaughter charges if he or she drives while impaired by alcohol or drugs and causes the death of another individual, including a viable fetus, known as an unborn quick child pursuant to Florida Statute Section 782.071.
Highly Skilled Florida DUI Manslaughter Defense Attorneys in Jacksonville, FL
If you have been charged with DUI manslaughter in Jacksonville, FL, you should immediately seek the services of a skilled Jacksonville defense attorney at Musca Law who will protect your legal rights to the fullest extent of the law and develop the strongest defense possible on your behalf.
DUI manslaughter cases are typically complex. This is why it is critical that you work with an attorney who is adept at defending individuals against this serious offense. These cases are often challenging given the fact that a blood sample may be drawn by an officer and sent to a lab for examination. These cases also involve notice sent to the accused requesting his or her medical records pursuant to a subpoena duces tecum.
If you have been charged with DUI manslaughter in Jacksonville, FL, you can contact Musca Law 24/7 by calling toll-free 1-888-484-5057.
How to Beat a Jacksonville Driving Under the Influence Manslaughter Charge
A DUI Manslaughter charge in Jacksonville, Florida, places the defendant in jeopardy of losing their freedom, housing, employment status, driving privileges, friends, and reputation. When a defendant has been charged with DUI Manslaughter, he or she will not receive sympathy, leniency, or mercy from the prosecuting attorneys in their case. All Jacksonville Police officers and Jacksonville Sheriff's Office deputies handle DUI Manslaughter investigations with significant attention and care so that the defendant, who they believe is responsible for the death, will not escape the consequences and punishments. The state's attorneys appointed to prosecute a DUI Manslaughter charge will aggressively pursue legal justice on behalf of the victim who was tragically killed in the accident and the victim's family.
In an adversarial legal justice system such as ours in the State of Florida, the defendant's criminal defense attorney is often the only person the accused can trust. Prosecutors have a sworn duty to inform the defense of any potentially exculpatory evidence, and they are forbidden from destroying or fabricating evidence. Prosecutors are required to make sure the process is fair, but they will work hard and argue passionately to convict and severely punish the accused.
Criminal Justice Court Judges who rule on DUI Manslaughter cases in Jacksonville, Florida, have proved that they are ready to sentence individuals convicted of DUI Manslaughter to lengthy prison sentences. In addition, Criminal Justice Court Judges typically order harsh terms of probation once the individual is released from prison.
Criminal Justice Judges listen to the evidence and arguments made dispassionately. Judges do not advocate for the prosecution or for the defense. They act as referees whose sole purpose is to make sure that the defendant's legal right to a fair trial is defended. The judge does not attempt to tip the scale toward one side or the other.
Although the deck seems to be stacked against a defendant charged with DUI Manslaughter, hiring a private Florida DUI Manslaughter Defense Lawyer is the only way to assure that your rights are protected and that you have a chance of beating the criminal charges.
If you or a loved one has been charged with DUI Manslaughter, contact the Florida DUI Manslaughter Defense attorneys of Musca Law. Our attorneys have substantial experience defending clients who were in a car accident and charged with DUI Manslaughter. Call Musca Law today, anytime day or night Toll-Free at (888) 484-5057 or contact our local Jacksonville office at (904) 610-6545.
Defend Your Legal Rights with Musca Law’s Over 150+ Years Collective Experience
Any motor vehicle accident that results in another's death is a tragic situation for all parties involved. However, when DUI charges are applied as well, the punishments skyrocket. If you or a family member have been arrested and charged with DUI manslaughter, you are facing a life-altering choice and situation. You will be facing an experienced and aggressive prosecution that could end with devastating outcomes. That is why you or your loved one should speak with an experienced Jacksonville DUI Manslaughter Lawyer from Musca Law. Our law firm will fight to defend your name and fight hard to obtain the best possible outcome in your criminal trial in Jacksonville, Florida.
DUI Manslaughter Often Results from a Tragic Accident
Oftentimes, DUI Manslaughter charges are filed against good people who made a bad decision that changed everything for them in the blink of an eye. Unfortunately, the law effectively treats DUI Manslaughter defendants as though they willfully and purposefully intended to kill someone. This is why the accused must make sure that their legal rights are protected throughout the criminal investigation and criminal trial. If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged for any crime, it is critical that you retain experienced criminal defense attorney who understands how to fight these criminal charges and will ensure that the police and prosecutors do not ignore your legal rights.
Defining Driving Under the Influence in the State of Florida
Florida has a legal permissible limit for a driver’s blood alcohol content, or BAC, which is 0.08 percent alcohol by volume. If a driver’s chemical test results return a higher percentage of alcohol in their system, that person might be charged with Driving Under the Influence or DUI.
If a driver is determined to be driving while under the influence of other intoxicating drugs, such as marijuana, an illegal drug, or an intoxicating prescription medication, the driver could be arrested and charged with a DUI. In the DUI cases involving intoxicating drugs, there is no legal limit.
When the Jacksonville Police or the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office suspect a driver of driving under the influence after the driver was involved in an injury-producing accident or fatal crash, the criminal charges and potential sentences increase dramatically.
Subpoena for Medical Records of Blood Alcohol Content
The State’s Attorney’s Office can request the medical records of a person who has been charged with DUI manslaughter through the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum. The accused may receive a HIPAA 15-day letter for Blood Alcohol Content or a Notice of an Investigating Subpoena For Medical Records.
If you were sent one of these requests, it is critical that you contact a seasoned Florida DUI manslaughter defense attorney at Musca Law. Our attorneys assist clients in a wide variety of DUI-related charges, including the most serious ones that involve injuries, property damage, and/or death.
It is vitally important to understand that you are entitled to privacy that protects the confidentiality of your medical records. When the state provides you with notice that they are seeking this sensitive information, they face significant hurdles and must adhere to his or her due process rights during a hearing on the evidence.
Penalties Associated with DUI Manslaughter Cases
In Florida, it is a second-degree felony when a person is charged with DUI manslaughter. It is also categorized as a Level 8 offense pursuant to Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code. A person who is facing second-degree felony charges could face a prison sentence of up to 15 years. There are additional consequences that follow a conviction for this offense, which include the following:
- DUI school;
- a maximum of $10,000 in monetary penalties;
- community service;
- An extended probation period;
- Impoundment of an accused’s automobile;
- the permanent revocation of one’s driver’s license; and
- Alcohol or drug abuse counseling/treatment.
Causation in a DUI Manslaughter Case in Florida
Under Florida Statute § 316.1933(1)(a), a person accused of during while impaired that resulted in serious bodily injury or death of another individual must submit to a blood test. In the process, police can only use reasonable force in seeking to obtain a blood sample from an accused. The blood test must also be done in a reasonable manner.
Police may force a suspect to submit to a blood test if they suspect the following:
- The person had actual physical control of an automobile or drove the automobile;
- The individual was impaired by drugs or alcohol at that time; and
- The automobile caused serious bodily harm or death to another person.
Preserving Evidence in a Vehicular Homicide Case
A prosecutor in Florida does not need to establish that an accused intended to cause harm to another individual. It must only be proven that the accused operated his or her vehicle in a manner that caused the death of a person or serious bodily harm.
At Musca Law, we understand how vital it is to work with a highly seasoned experts who play an integral role in the defense. Since Florida law enforcement conducts their own investigation to support a DUI manslaughter charge, defense experts, who conduct their own investigation, can aid in attacking the prosecutor’s case.
The Florida DUI defense attorneys at Musca Law approach each case aggressively and diligently by filing a variety of motions in an accused’s case, which include motions to dismiss the criminal charges, motions to suppress evidence, and motions in limine to exclude prejudicial evidence at trial. Overall, the attorneys at Musca Law will pursue all steps necessary to fight for the rights and interests of our clients during all stages of their case. These steps include, without limitation, the following:
- Obtaining medical records of an individual who sustained injuries or died in the accident as a result of his or her injuries;
- Being present for the police interrogation of the accused;
- Obtaining statements from witnesses;
- Taking photographs of the damage that was sustained by the vehicles involved in the accident; and
- Taking photographs of the location where the crash happened, including any tire marks left on the road.
Permanent Driver's License Revocation & Hardship Reinstatement
In Florida, a person’s driving privileges will be permanently revoked upon a DUI manslaughter conviction. If an individual faces a DUI Manslaughter Conviction with No Prior DUI Convictions, he or she may have their license reinstated after 5 years have passed since the date of the license revocation and following the end of the applicable prison term. A hardship reinstatement hearing can be pursued if the following conditions have been met:
- The individual has not been placed under arrest for any drug-related crime for a period of 5 years or more prior to the hearing;
- The individual has not driven a vehicle with a suspended license for a period of 5 years or more prior to the hearing;
- The driver has not ingested any alcohol or drugs for a period of five years or more prior to the hearing;
- The driver was required to have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle for a 2-year period of time; and
- The driver completed DUI school and is being supervised under the DUI program for the remaining period of revocation. A failure to report to substance abuse treatment will result in the immediate cancellation of the hardship driver’s license.
Felony DUI Charges in Jacksonville, Florida (FL)
The Florida DUI manslaughter defense lawyers have more than 150 years of combined legal experience assisting clients who face DUI-related charges. Call 888-484-5057 to speak with an experienced DUI defense attorney in Jacksonville, FL.
While the majority of DUI cases in Jacksonville, FL are classified as a misdemeanor, felony charges are pursued by the prosecutor under the following set of circumstances:
- A third DUI within 5 years of any previous conviction;
- DUI with fleeing an accident scene involving non-serious injuries;
- DUI with fleeing an accident scene resulting in death.
- A fourth DUI over the course of one’s lifetime;
- DUI resulting in serious bodily injury; or
- DUI with fleeing an accident scene involving serious bodily injuries; or
- DUI manslaughter;
Felony for Third DUI within 10 Years
A third DUI conviction within ten years of any prior DUI conviction is punishable as follows:
- as a felony in the third-degree;
- the impoundment of one’s vehicle for 90 days;
- a minimum imprisonment of 30 days;
- a monetary fine ranging from $2,000 and up to $5,000;
- the installation of an ignition interlock device for 2 years after a person has their license reinstated;
- a maximum of a 5-year prison sentence; and
- a minimum 10-year revocation of one’s driver’s license, although he or she may be eligible for hardship reinstatement after 2 years.
Fourth DUI in a Lifetime in Florida
A fourth or subsequent DUI is charged as a third-degree felony, which is punishable:
- a maximum prison term of 5 years;
- The permanent revocation of one’s driver’s license with the potential for reinstatement with a showing of hardship after 5 years; and
- A fine ranging from $2,000 to $5,000.
DUI with Serious Bodily Injury in Jacksonville, Florida (FL)
Under Florida Statute Section 316.193(3), it provides that a person can be charged with a third-degree felony if they cause serious bodily injury to another individual while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This carries with it a prison sentence of 5 years and a monetary fine of $5,000. The individual may lose his or her license for 3 years following a conviction.
DUI Manslaughter in Jacksonville, Florida (FL)
Under Florida Statute 316.193(1) and (3)(c)(3), the crime of DUI Manslaughter is a second-degree felony that is punishable by:
- a minimum jail term of 124.5 months;
- a maximum jail term of 15 years;
- The permanent revocation of one’s driver’s license; and
- a monetary penalty of up to $10,000.
Felony DUI Fleeing the Scene of an Accident Involving Non-Serious Injuries, Serious Bodily Injury or Death
If a person flees the scene of an accident that resulted in non-serious injuries, serious injuries, or the death of another individual, the associated consequences depend upon the details of one’s case.
If an intoxicated driver who flees the scene of an accident causes non-serious injuries, the DUI offense can be charged as a felony in the third-degree. This is associated with a jail term of up to 5 years and a monetary fine of $5,000.
If an intoxicated driver causes serious bodily injury in the crash and flees the scene of an accident, the DUI offense can be charged as a felony in the second-degree, which carries with it a maximum prison term of 5 years and a monetary fine of $10,000.
If an intoxicated driver causes the death of another individual and flees the scene of the accident, the DUI offense can be charged as a felony in the second-degree, which is associated with a maximum prison sentence of 30 years and a $10,000 monetary penalty.
Special Defenses for Felony DUI Cases in Jacksonville, Florida
There are certain defenses that may apply in one’s DUI felony case. These are as follows:
- Blood draw. A police officer must obtain a warrant or the consent of an accused before drawing his or her blood. If they do not, this defense may be raised.
- Accident report privilege. A person faces immunity if they made a statement during law enforcement’s investigation of their case.
- Field sobriety test. An officer may conduct a field sobriety test following an accident, which may skew the results due to the shock or injuries that the accused sustained. In this case, a Florida DUI manslaughter defense attorney may raise this defense.
- Breathalyzer test. The accused may raise this defense if a breathalyzer test was given after airbags deployed in the accused’s vehicle. Airbag deployment can cause a higher BAC result, leading to inaccurate results.
- Wheel witness. If the accused exits his or her vehicle after an accident but before law enforcement arrived on the scene, the prosecution may have difficulty in proving that he or she was the driver, especially if the accused does not admit to it. Under these set of circumstances, this defense can be raised.
- Intervening cause. If the accused did not cause or contribute to the death of another individual or unborn quick child, then this defense may apply to his or her case.
- BAC level. If an accused’s BAC was not above the legal limit of 0.08% at the time of the accident, this defense may be raised.
- Physical control. A person can challenge the prosecutor’s case by asserting that he or she was not in physical control of one’s vehicle at the time of the arrest.
- Chemical test. If a chemical test was not properly administered, evidence of same can be excluded from court and this defense can be raised.
- Miranda warnings. Statements you make without being given Miranda warnings can be excluded and this defense can be asserted.
- Causation. The prosecution cannot prove that the accused’s actions actually caused the death of another person.
DUI Manslaughter FAQs
When representing clients, we are often asked a number of questions, the most common of which are as follows:
Can a DUI become a felony or is it always a misdemeanor?
A DUI can be charged as a felony of the third-degree when a person is convicted of a third DUI, which happens within 10 years of a prior DUI conviction.
A DUI can be charged as a third-degree felony when an individual faces a fourth conviction or more, regardless of when the prior DUI conviction occurred.
A DUI can also be charged as a felony in the first or second-degree if the impaired driver caused injuries or death, or if he or she caused injuries or death and fled the scene of the accident.
I am being charged with a DUI with property damage/ non-serious injury/serious bodily injury/death. What is the difference between these offenses?
Damage to property or the infliction of non-serious injuries that arise out of an accident with an impaired driver is charged as a first-degree misdemeanor.
Serious bodily injury that results from an accident with an impaired driver is charged as a felony of the third-degree.
The death of any human being or unborn quick child resulting from a DUI-related accident can be punishable as a second-degree felony. Failing to render aid to a victim who dies or if the driver flees the scene of the accident can be punishable as a first-degree felony, which carries with it the most severe consequences.
Can I serve my prison term in a residential alcoholism treatment program?
Yes. Under certain circumstances, and in the court’s discretion, an individual can serve a part or all of his or her imprisonment term in a residential alcoholism treatment program or a residential drug abuse treatment program. Time spent in such a program is credited by the court toward the imprisonment term.
If arrested for a DUI, is there a period of time that I have to remain in jail before I can be released?
Yes. A person who is placed under arrest may not be released from custody until (i) the person is no longer under the influence of drugs or alcohol, (ii) the individual’s BAC is less than 0.05%, or (iii) until 8 hours have passed from the time the individual was placed under arrest.
Your Life and Liberty Depend Upon It; Contact the Seasoned Florida DUI Defense Attorneys at Musca Law Today!
Don’t wait to seek qualified counsel to assist you in your DUI manslaughter case in Jacksonville, Florida (FL). Contact a Florida criminal law attorney now at Musca Law to discuss your Jacksonville, FL DUI manslaughter case. Call 888-484-5057 to schedule a free and completely confidential case evaluation. We look forward to making a difference for you.