DUI Manslaughter Defense Lawyers in Jacksonville, Florida (FL)
Jacksonville DUI Manslaughter Attorneys
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 casesinvolving 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.
Defending Against DUI Manslaughter Charges in Jacksonville, Florida
In Florida, an average of 350 people die in drunk driving-related accidents each year. In total, there are about 5,000 accidents involving alcohol each year in Florida. Although the number of alcohol-related fatal accidents in Florida has been falling each year, alcohol-related fatal accidents still account for almost 30% of all traffic deaths.
To persuade drivers from driving drunk, Florida’s prosecuting attorneys aggressively pursue criminal charges those drivers who drink and drive, especially drivers suspected of causing vehicle-related personal injuries while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Defining DUI Manslaughter under Florida Law
When the prosecutor charges an individual with DUI Manslaughter, there are severe factors that the State must prove to turn the criminal charge into a conviction. The elements required to prove DUI Manslaughter include:
- The defendant is caught operating or in control of a vehicle in Florida;
- The defendant is under the influence of drugs or alcohol to the point the driver does not have the ability to operate a motor vehicle at a normal level of competency;
- The defendant’s blood alcohol met or exceeded the legal limit of .08 percent alcohol per volume in either a breathalyzer or a blood test;
- The defendant directly or indirectly caused the death of another human being while meeting the aforementioned elements.
A driver is considered to be in control of a motor vehicle even when they are not actually driving the vehicle. The driver simply needs to be in the driver's seat inside the vehicle. For example, sitting in the driver’s seat with the engine running qualifies as being in control of the motor vehicle.
Injury-Causing Crashes and DUIs in Jacksonville, Florida
If an intoxicated driver causes an accident, and another motorist sustains injuries, the penalties include a prison sentence of up to five years in prison. The defendant could receive a fine of up to $5,000. Prosecutors fight hard to make sure the defendant is convicted and receives the harshest punishments and penalties possible. The injured party may also file a civil lawsuit against the drunk driver to collect monetary damages.
Sentencing and Penalties for DUI Manslaughter in Jacksonville, Florida
Depending on the criminal case's facts and whether or not this is a repeat incident, the penalties for DUI manslaughter can be incredibly severe. The minimum prison sentence in Florida for a DUI manslaughter conviction is four years.
Florida felonies are divided into degrees. First-degree felonies are the most severe criminal charges. A person who is convicted of a first-degree felony faces up to 30 years of incarceration at a state penitentiary. A second-degree felony is punished with a maximum prison sentence of twenty years. Some felonies come with a mandatory minimum sentence. A mandatory minimum sentence means that anyone convicted of the crime will face a minimum jail or prison sentence without exception.
In Florida, DUI Manslaughter criminal convictions are punished with a mandatory minimum sentence of four years in prison. Anyone convicted of DUI Manslaughter in Florida receives a minimum four-year sentence regardless if the defendant has a clean criminal record. Individuals who are convicted of several crimes will face additional penalties.
DUI Manslaughter is a second-degree felony punishable with a minimum of four years and a maximum of fifteen years in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000. This convicted defendant could receive up to fifteen years' probation as well. Other punishments may include attending a DUI alcohol or substance abuse course, mandatory community service, the impoundment of their motor vehicle, possible psychological evaluations, and treatment for substance abuse.
In many circumstances, a drunk driver involved in an accident might panic and flee the accident scene. Causing an accident and then fleeing the scene of an accident is a felony in Florida. Leaving the scene of a DUI Manslaughter accident, prosecutors and law enforcement will charge the driver with a first-degree felony. The defendant faces up to 30 years in prison, a $10,000 fine, community service, probation, substance abuse courses, and ongoing evaluations.
In the state of Florida, basic DUI manslaughter penalties are as follows:
- DUI Manslaughter: This is considered a Second-Degree Felony and a level eight offense out of a maximum of ten levels, with a level ten being the most severe offense. Sentencing guidelines in Florida also include a point system and equations. The crime of DUI Manslaughter comes with a score of 74 points. Points may be added for the person’s criminal history, or for the defendant’s failure to abide by court dates. Certain mitigating circumstances may subtract from the equation, as well. The judge must follow the guidelines and cannot hand out arbitrary sentences. DUI Manslaughter is punishable by a maximum $10,000 fine, a maximum 15 year imprisonment, and probation.
- DUI Manslaughter with Leaving the Scene: If a driver is convicted of DUI manslaughter who knew or should have reasonably known that an accident took place and refused or failed to release information or lend help in the situation, he or she may be guilty of a First-Degree Felony. This carries a maximum fine of $10,000, a maximum of 30 years in prison, and lengthy probationary period.
Additionally, a DUI manslaughter conviction in Florida might result in the permanent lost driving privileges or a criminal conviction that can't be expunged from your criminal record.
DUI Manslaughter Long-Lasting and Far-Reaching Consequences
When a person has been convicted of DUI Manslaughter, that felony remains on their permanent record. These individuals could lose their driving privileges in Florida for an extended period of time, impacting their employability and independence long after they are released from prison. Convicts may also lose their jobs and livelihoods, and their right to vote. Those convicted of DUI Manslaughter will be denied employment with the government or could be denied certain types of aid and benefits granted by the government.
When it comes to defending against DUI Manslaughter charges, the stakes could not be any higher. Defendants need to engage with an experienced attorney who can aggressively represent them and make sure that the case made against them is done properly without any of the accused’s rights being violated. Although many DUI Manslaughter defendants are not hardened criminals, this is often how the government treats these individuals. That is why you need a strong advocate in your case.
Preserving the Defense's Evidence in Jacksonville DUI Manslaughter Cases
Musca Law's DUI Manslaughter Defense Attorneys have a well-earned reputation as dynamic advocates who achieve positive results for their clients. Dynamic advocacy means more than shouting at a witness under cross-examination or passionately yelling while contending a point to the judge. Aggressive advocacy is a belief in working tirelessly to defend a client's constitutional rights from the moment a client engages our law firm.
Engaging Musca Law's Jacksonville DUI Manslaughter Defense Lawyers during a criminal investigation or immediately following an arrest will help preserve the defense's invaluable evidence. Evidence left behind at a motor vehicle accident does not remain there for very long. However, Musca Law's Defense Attorneys know the value of getting out to the scene of the collision as quickly as possible in the aftermath of an accident, and observing the accident scene soon after the collision helps Musca Law's Defense Team better understand the scene's scope, the motor vehicles' position and observe the marks that could remain on the road, such as yawl skid marks and gouge marks.
Musca Law's team of experts will examine the evidence assembled at the accident scene by the police and the defense team as well. Defense experts are a valuable part of Musca Law's defense team in some criminal cases. Experts like crash analysts help our attorneys understand the weight of the evidence, which will help them argue against law enforcement experts' conclusions. Defense experts help the jury comprehend the full context of the evidence so they can have a full picture of what transpired leading up to and in the aftermath of the collision. Otherwise, the jury only receives a one-sided presentation of evidence that might invite drawing the wrong conclusions and finding someone guilty because they just believed the so-called "experts" offered by the prosecution were accurate.
Musca Law’s DUI Manslaughter defense attorneys defend clients by:
- Accompanying with our clients during police interrogations;
- Collecting and analyzing the medical records of the crash victims;
- Photographing the motor vehicles involved in the accident as well as the evidence scene;
- Interview witnesses who have talked with law enforcement investigators or searching for witnesses the police might have missed; and
- Locate surveillance videos not seized by law enforcement.
Relevant Statutes for DUI Manslaughter Offenses in the State of Florida
Florida law defines criminal charges to make sure that prosecutors prove specific factors to convict a defendant of a given crime. Florida's criminal statutes are also intended to create fairness by clearly stating the factors that apply in each case.
Under Florida Section 316.193(3)(c)(3), DUI Manslaughter charges only apply if the defendant drove a vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, and as a result, caused the death of another. According to Florida law, a "quick" child is also considered a person. A “quick” child is an unborn baby that could survive outside of the womb at the time when the accident caused their death.
Under Section 316.193(3)(c)(3), DUI Manslaughter is a second-degree felony. The criminal penalties are outlined in Florida Criminal Statutes 775.082-775.084
Failing to Render Aid After an Accident in Jacksonville, Florida
According to section 316.062, fleeing the scene of a deadly crash, or failing to render the aid to the victim, or failing to provide their identification and contact information will upgrade a crime to a first-degree felony. Florida law requires drivers to remains at the accident scene, and must render aid that he or she is reasonably capable of providing to the injured people. Florida law does not require people to perform acts of heroism.
If a person is involved in an accident, it's not enough to sit inside their motor vehicle, wait for someone else to contact 911 and wait for the police and emergency medical providers to arrive at the accident scene. Depending on the circumstances, a person could be obligated to contact the police to check on the other people involved in the accident or to provide their information to surviving victims. These requirements are limited by what is "reasonably" possible. For example, if the victim’s location is too dangerous to render aid, the law does not require an act of heroism.
Defending Against DUI Manslaughter Charges in Jacksonville, Florida (FL)
All crimes have potential defenses. However, the burden of proof falls upon the shoulders of the state, which must prove each one of the elements "beyond a reasonable doubt." It isn't likely that a defendant in a DUI Manslaughter trial can dispute that the accident happened and the accident caused the death of the victim. However, the other elements could be argued against. The defendant could argue against the factual allegations. For example, challenging who was in control of the vehicle or that the driver was under the influence. Factual disputes always depend on challenging specific events.
In addition, there are evidentiary defenses to DUI Manslaughter charges. A few potential defenses could include:
Breathalyzer Test Results Are Not Admissible: Breathalyzer machines are not reliable. Also, there are strict regulations for calibrating and maintaining these testing machines. Failing to abide by the specified maintenance and calibration requirements might invalidate the test results.
Improperly Conducted Field Sobriety Tests: When law enforcement a driver is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the driver will be subjected to specific tests that will be conducted in the roadside investigation. A defendant who has a disability making it difficult to perform the sobriety tests properly. The police officer might fail to account for the person’s baseline coordination when checking if the driver was impaired since coordination levels vary from person to person. The law enforcement officer may not be properly qualified to perform the field sobriety or breath tests or could have made errors while administering the sobriety tests.
Inadequate Probable Cause: Jacksonville Police officers and Jacksonville Sheriff's Office deputies need probable cause that that leads the officer to believe that the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol before performing sobriety tests. When the police officer is unable show that they had sufficient reasons to think the driver was drunk or on drugs, then the DUI arrest would not be legal, and any evidence from the roadside investigation could be excluded from any DUI trial.
Failure to Read Miranda Rights: A suspect's Miranda Rights must be read verbatim to the DUI suspect. Failing to read a suspect's Miranda Rights could suppress the defendant’s statements to the officers.
Failure to Obtain Warrant for Blood Tests: Law enforcement officers are not permitted to take blood tests without the suspect’s consent or a valid warrant signed by a judge. If the police performs a blood test without consent or a warrant, the blood test results could be excluded.
Developing a DUI Manslaughter defense strategy will depend on facts and circumstances of the case. Hiring an experienced DUI Manslaughter defense attorney can make sure that all possible avenues for defending against the criminal charges are explored.
Convenient Offices Throughout Florida, Musca Law is Available to Take Your Calls 24/7
Protect your rights and fight for your best interests with the help of a Florida DUI manslaughter attorney from Musca Law. With over 150 years of collective experience, our criminal defense law firm can handle a wide variety of charges. Our legal professionals take the time to get to understand our clients and to analyze their case. This enables us to devise an effective defense while exploiting the weaknesses in the prosecution's case.
A conviction can carry with it heavy, life-altering consequences. Don’t risk your future. Reach out to a Jacksonville defense lawyer as soon as possible to protect your name and reputation.
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