DUI Pedestrian Manslaughter Defense Lawyers in Jacksonville, Florida
Jacksonville Fatal Drunk Driving Pedestrian Accident Defense Attorneys
In Florida, when a driver is caught driving a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol level above .08 percent, he or she will be charged with a DUI, which is a serious criminal charges. However, when a drunk driver injures or kills another person, the consequences are much more severe.
According to Florida Statute Section 316.193(3)(c)(3), DUI Manslaughter is defined as a driver who unintentionally kills another human being while that driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol has committed DUI Manslaughter. The victim can be a child, adult and a viable fetus, as defined in Florida Section 782.071. DUI manslaughter is a felony criminal charge in the state of Florida.
State's prosecutors are under enormous pressure to obtain convictions with maximum penalites in DUI manslaughter cases. Typically, prosecutors will push for the most severe punishments and penalities permitable under Floruda DUI laws.
Defendants Charged with DUI Manslaughter of a Pedestrian in Jacksonville Need Experienced Legal Counsel
At Musca Law, we represent clients in the Jacksonville area, Duval County, and throughout the state of Florida. If you or a loved one is facing a DUI Manslaughter criminal charge, act quickly and contact an attorney to help you or your loved one understand the legal process and to begin building the best defense strategy based on the facts of the case.
In Florida, when a driver has collided with a pedestrian, cyclist or another motor vehicle, the law enforcement officers will begin a DUI Manslaughter case. As part of the officers' investigation, there will be a formal request or warrant issued to draw blood samples from the accused for testing of drugs and alcohol. The suspect's medical records will also be obtained. It is important for a suspect to understand his or her rights and obligations under Florida law. The medical aspect of a DUI Manslaughter case is one of the many reasons that defending against these offenses are so complex. It is crutial to understand that the penalities of a DUI Manslaughter conviction are extreme and will impact a defendant's life even after serving time in prison.
In addition, a DUI Manslaughter conviction will likely initiate a civil lawsuit against the "at-fault" drunk driver driver.
If you or a loved one is facing charges for DUI Manslaughter in Jacksonville, Florida, contact our offices at (904) 610-6545 or visit us at our office located at 630 W Adams St #205, Jacksonville, FL 32204. At Musca Law, our DUI Defense Law Firm has someone ready to speak with you any time, 24/7.
HIPAA Privacy Rights and Subpoena’s for Medical Records in Jacksonville DUI Manslaughter Cases
A subpoena "duces tecum" can be submitted by State's Attorneys to request the medical records of the driver involved in a fatal pedestrian, cycling, or motor vehicle accident. The State’s Attorney may mail the defendant a "HIPAA 15-day letter" or a legal document called a "Notice of an Investigating Subpoena For Medical Records." It is crutial that you know the implications and your legal rights concerning medical records. In Florida, medical records are protected by HIPAA laws. Therefore the State must first overcome the accused's right to privacy. In Florida, due process rights protect the legal rights of every accused person.
At Musca Law, our attorneys help you know your rights and what you must turn over, and what should remain confidential. The DUI Pedestrian Manslaughter Attorneys at Musca Law help you navigate the criminal justice process and make sure that your due process rights are respected. Our firm represents clients charged in all types of DUI cases, including those involving death, property damage, and severe bodily harm.
Sentencing and Penalties in DUI Manslaughter Cases in Jacksonville, Florida
DUI Manslaughter charges are second-degree felony that come with a maximum prison sentence of 15 years, categorized as a Level 8 offense under the State's Criminal Punishment Code. DUI Manslaughter convictions carry a minimum prison sentence of four years and maximum prison of 15 years. In some cases, prosecutors can waive the mandatory sentence.
In addition to time in prison time, other possible punishments include:
- DUI courses;
- Community service;
- Up to $10,000 in fines;
- Lengthy probationary periods;
- Impounding of the suspect’s vehicle;
- Mandatory counseling for alcohol abuse.
- Permanent loss of driver’s license;
Elements the Prosecutors Must Prove in a DUI Manslaughter Cases
Under Florida law, Prosecutors must prove certain key elements to convict an individual of DUI Manslaughter. If law enforcement wants to take blood samples from a suspect, the officers are required to believe that the defendant's conduct meets all of the following necessary elements, which are:
- The defendant was driving or actually in control of the motor vehicle;
- The defendant was under the influence of alcohol or another intoxilizer; and
- The car in which the defendant was controlling killed another person.
Florida law dictates that law enforcement officers must act reasonably and meet all of the requirements to obtain a blood sample from the accused.
DUI manslaughter cases are different from other types of homicide cases because there is no need to prove that the defendant intended to harm the victim at the time they "allegedly" killed the pedestrian, cyclist, or other motorist.
Hiring Experts and Building a Case in a DUI Pedestrian Manslaughter Case in Jacksonville, Florida
The Pedestrian Manslaughter Defense Attorneys at Musca Law know how to build a poweful, compelling, and pursuasive defense case. Prosecutors will have the benefit of law enforcement officers who will conduct a full investigation into the accident and death. A defense expert can carry out their own probe into the events and use their findings to fight against the results of law enforcement officers.
Our Jacksonville fatal DUI accident defense attorneys will evaluate cases with a critical eye and will file motions to prevent improper or prejudicial evidence from being used against our clients at trial.
Our clients know that we will be there fighting for them through each step of the process. We will be in the room for police interrogations, seeking witnesses and acquiring their statements, getting the deceased or injured person’s medical records, and collecting photographs and evidence to help understand the case and build a defense to the charges.
Types of DUI Charges in Jacksonville, Florida
Most DUIs are misdemeanors. It takes a particular set of circumstances to upgrade the charge to a felony. In the below situations, the prosecutor can charge the accused with a felony:
- DUI convictions three times within ten years;
- DUI causing severe injuries or death when the driver then flees the scene of a crash;
- Four DUIs in a person’s life; and
- DUI causing death or severe injuries.
Penalties for Felony DUIs in Jacksonville, Florida
When a DUI is a felony because the suspect has three convictions within a decade, the crime can be charged as a third-degree felony. The punishment can include a prison sentence of at least 30 days and at most five years, a fine between $2,000 and $5,000, impoundment of the individual’s vehicle for at least 90 days, and a ten-year loss of their driver’s license. There is a possibility of obtaining a hardship license after two years in some circumstances.
If a person is convicted of four DUIs in his or her lifetime, this is a third-degree felony even if the DUIs occurred more than ten years apart. Punishments will include up to five years in prison, a fine between $2,000 and $5,000, and a permanent loss of the individual's driver's license. In this scenario, there is a possibility of having a license reinstated with a showing of hardship. This will not be available, however, until after five years.
If a driver is under the influence and his or her actions behind the wheel cause severe harm to another person, then that driver can face felony charges. This is true even if the suspect has never had a previous DUI conviction or any other criminal conviction. These charges will result in a possible sentence of up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, and the three-year loss of a driver's license.
In the most challenging situations, when a driver kills another person while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, prosecutors can charge that individual with a second-degree felony. A person convicted of DUI Manslaughter must be sentenced to a minimum of about four years in jail. The judge may impose a prison sentence of up to 15 years. The driver will lose his or her license permanently and can be fined up to $10,000.
Hit-and-Runs DUIs in Jacksonville, Florida
In some instances, a person who is involved in a deadly car crash may panic and flee the scene. This frequently happens in the case of drivers who are under the influence of alcohol. Fleeing the scene of a collision that causes severe bodily harm or death will lead to severe consequences for a driver, especially if the driver is under the influence.
If the injured person only sustains minor harm, the fleeing driver can still face a third-degree felony and up to five years in prison. The judge can impose a fine up to $5,000 as well. If the driver is accused of causing severe bodily injury and then fleeing, the crime is upgraded to a second-degree felony with the possible five-year prison term and a fine of up to $10,000.
In the worst-case scenario, if someone dies in an accident, and the driver is under the influence and flees the scene, the prosecutor can charge the driver with a second-degree felony DUI Manslaughter and fleeing the scene. A conviction for this offense can lead to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Getting Back a Conditional Driver’s License After a DUI
When a person loses their driver's license, this can have severe consequences long after he or she serves time in prison and pays all fines. Not being able to drive can impact a person's employability, making it difficult for that individual to earn a living.
Florida law allows for people who lost their driver's licenses to obtain a hardship license under certain circumstances. This license comes with restrictions but can drastically improve a person’s situation and help that person move on with his or her life.
In order to get this license, the driver must not have been arrested for drug-related charges for at least five years, must not have driven on a suspended license for at least five years, must have refrained from using drugs or alcohol for at least five years, and must have gone through DUI courses and treatment for substance abuse.
The license will not permit a driver to use their license for any purpose, but it will make it possible for them to drive to and from work, and possibly for medical or religious purposes.
A Jacksonville DUI attorney from Musca Law will can let you know whether you are eligible to obtain a hardship license. If you meet the requirements, our attorneys can help you through this process so that you can start working towards rebuilding your life.
Building a Defense in a Jacksonville DUI Pedestrian Manslaughter Case
If you are charged with committing a DUI Manslaughter against another driver, a pedestrian or a cyclist, there will be certain defenses available to you. Which defenses apply or would be best to use in your case will depend on the facts specific to your case.
Disputing the Facts and Evidence Against the Defendant
Prosecutors must show that a defendant was in physical control of the vehicle, was under the influence and caused the death of the alleged victim. In some instances, the defendant might argue he or she was not driving at the time, or that he or she was not drunk. It might also be possible to refute the causation by stating the accident did not lead to the person's death, or that the accused did not cause the accident. The accused could also raise a defense declaring that an intervening cause led to the person's death. These defenses all attack the factual allegations of the prosecutor's case.
A wheel witness defense is used to categorically deny that the accused was driving in cases where the driver exited the car, and no one saw who was operating the vehicle at the time of the accident. If the person facing charges never admitted to driving, this may be a possible defense.
Faulty or Improper Collection of Evidence
Police are bound to follow specific rules when collecting evidence against a suspect. If those rules are violated, the evidence can be excluded from any prosecution of the accused. When investigating a DUI case, the police may request a blood draw. However, if officers took the suspect's blood sample without a warrant or consent from the suspect, then the blood sample may not be used to build the prosecutor's case.
In some instances, officers might perform field sobriety tests on a person who sustained injuries or who is disoriented because of a crash. This could lead to misleading results. It is also important that the officer has the proper training and performs the tests correctly. The results of this test can also be excluded if the test was improper.
Chemical tests and breathalyzer tests must be properly performed. If the police or lab cannot show their equipment is properly maintained and calibrated, the test results may be invalidated or excluded.
Additionally, when airbags deploy in a collision, they use chemicals to inflate rapidly. Studies have shown that these chemicals can lead to incorrect results on a breathalyzer test. If the breathalyzer test results are improper because the driver’s airbags deployed, the defense attorney can move to exclude the results of that test.
Privilege and Miranda Rights
Some statements made by a suspect cannot be used against him or her in a court of law. When reporting an accident, individuals have a privilege because it is important that the police learn of and respond to the accident. Statements made during accident reporting are therefore considered privileged.
When law enforcement places a person under arrest, an officer must read the suspect their Miranda rights. The Miranda warnings inform the suspect of their legal rights, such as their right have an attorney and to to remain silent. If a suspect states something before their Miranda warnings have been read to them, then these statements could be excluded from the case against the accused.
Likewise, when the accused asks for an attorney, they must be permitted to speak to their attorney. Police may not prevent a suspect from speaking to with attorney and continue to interrogate the suspect under Florida law.
Our lines are open 24/7. Call Musca Law today at (904) 610-6545.
Jacksonville Office Location
630 W Adams St #205
Jacksonville, FL 32204
88HM+PM Downtown, Jacksonville, FL, United States