DUI Manslaughter Lawyer in Naples, Florida (FL)

Florida DUI Manslaughter Laws, Penalties & Defenses 

DUI Manslaughter

When a person drives while he or she is impaired by drugs or alcohol, the state of Florida imposes severe consequences if the accused is convicted of DUI manslaughter. Pursuant to Florida Statute Section 316,193(3)(c)(3), DUI manslaughter is a felony in the second-degree that is associated with an extended prison term as well as hefty monetary fines. 

Under Florida law, DUI manslaughter includes any person who drives while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and who causes the death of another person, including an unborn quick child, which is defined in Florida Statute Section 782.071 as a viable fetus.

Highly Qualified Florida DUI Defense Attorneys in Naples, FL

If you are facing DUI manslaughter charges in Naples, FL, you should contact a knowledgeable attorney at Musca Law in order to safeguard your legal rights and develop the strongest defense possible. 

DUI manslaughter cases are often highly complicated. That is why it is important for you to hire an attorney who is experienced in defending individuals against this serious felony crime. These cases are complex given that a blood sample may have been drawn by an officer and sent off to a crime lab for analysis. These cases may also involve notice to the accused that is requesting his or her medical records pursuant to a subpoena duces tecum.

If you are facing DUI manslaughter charges, you can contact Musca Law 24/7 by calling toll-free 888-484-5057.

Subpoena for Medical Records of Blood Alcohol Content

The State’s Attorney’s Office can request the medical records of an individual accused of DUI manslaughter by issuing a subpoena duces tecum. The individual may receive a Notice of Issuance of an Investigating Subpoena For Medical Records or a HIPAA 15-day letter for Blood Alcohol Content. 

If you received any of the above, it is vital that you call one of the highly qualified attorneys at Musca Law. Our lawyers help clients who are facing serious DUI charges, including the most serious cases involving property damage, injuries, and/or death.

It is important to realize that you are entitled to privacy that safeguards the confidentiality of your medical records. When the state requests your private information, it faces a significant burden and must adhere to the due process rights of an accused individual during an evidentiary hearing. 

DUI Manslaughter Penalties

In Florida, DUI manslaughter constitutes a second-degree felony, and is classified as a Level 8 offense under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code. An individual facing second-degree felony charges may be sentenced to prison for 15 years or less. The additional penalties associated with a second-degree felony conviction are:

  • a maximum of $10,000 in monetary fines;
  • An extended probation period;
  • community service;
  • the permanent revocation of one’s driver’s license;
  • DUI school
  • impoundment of the accused’s vehicle; and
  • Alcohol abuse treatment.

Causation in a DUI Manslaughter Case in Florida

Under Florida Statute § 316.1933(1)(a), a person suspected of driving under the influence that caused serious bodily injury or death must have a blood test taken. Police can only use reasonable force when requesting a suspect to submit to a blood test. The blood test must also be conducted in a manner that is reasonable.

Police may force a suspect to submit to a blood test if they suspect the following:

  • The person had actual physical control of a vehicle or drove the vehicle;
  • The person was impaired by alcohol or drugs at that time; and
  • The vehicle caused the death or serious bodily harm to another individual.

Preserving Evidence in a Vehicular Homicide Case

Prosecutors involved in a DUI manslaughter case do not need to prove intent on the part of the driver in causing an accident that led to harm inflicted upon another individual. Alternatively, it must be established that the operation of the automobile was conducted in a way that caused bodily injury or death to another person.

At Musca Law, we know how critical it is to work with highly skilled experts who play a significant role in the defense. Experts are vital in one’s case because Florida law enforcement also pursues their own investigation to support a DUI manslaughter charge. These experts will help the defense in conducting their own independent investigation of the accident, which often proves vital in one’s case.

The Naples criminal defense lawyers at Musca Law approach each case with diligence, and often file a number of motions in one’s case, including motions in limine to exclude prejudicial evidence at trial, motions to dismiss the criminal charges, and motions to suppress evidence. The attorneys at Musca Law pursue all strategies necessary to obtain the best results for our clients, fighting each part of the prosecutor’s case.

A highly qualified Florida DUI manslaughter defense attorney must pursue several steps in order to safeguard the legal rights of an accused during an investigation. This includes the following:

  • Taking photographs of the damage that was sustained by the vehicles involved in the accident;
  • Being present for the police interrogation of the accused;
  • Taking photographs of the location where the crash happened, including any tire marks left on the road;
  • Obtaining statements from witnesses; and
  • Obtaining medical records of an individual who sustained injuries or died in the accident as a result of his or her injuries.

Permanent Driver's License Revocation & Hardship Reinstatement

In Florida, a person’s rights to drive may be revoked on a permanent basis upon a conviction for DUI manslaughter. If the individual faces a DUI Manslaughter Conviction with No Prior DUI Convictions, he or she may have his or her license reinstated after 5 years have gone by since the date of the initial license revocation and following the end of the term of imprisonment.

A hardship reinstatement hearing can be pursued if the following conditions are satisfied:

  • 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 was required to have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle for a 2-year period of time;
  • 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 driver has not ingested any alcohol or drugs for a period of five years or more prior to the hearing; and
  • The driver finished DUI school and has been supervised under a DUI program for the remaining period of his or her license revocation. A failure to report to substance abuse treatment will result in the immediate cancellation of the hardship driver’s license.

Felony DUI

The Florida DUI manslaughter defense attorneys have over 150 years of collective legal experience helping clients facing serious criminal charges associated with driving while impaired by drugs and/or alcohol.

Call 888-484-5057 to speak with an experienced DUI defense attorney in Naples, Florida.

Although most DUI cases in Naples, FL are classified as a misdemeanor, felony charges are filed for the following types of offenses:

  • A third DUI within 5 years of any previous conviction;
  • A fourth DUI over the course of one’s lifetime;
  • DUI resulting in serious bodily injury;
  • DUI with fleeing an accident scene involving non-serious injuries;
  • DUI manslaughter;
  • DUI with fleeing an accident scene resulting in death.
  • DUI with fleeing an accident scene involving serious bodily injuries; or

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;
  • a monetary fine ranging from $2,000 and up to $5,000;
  • a minimum imprisonment of 30 days;
  • a maximum of a 5-year prison sentence;
  • the impoundment of one’s vehicle for 90 days;
  • the installation of an ignition interlock device for 2 years after a person has their license reinstated; 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

A fourth or subsequent DUI is charged as a third-degree felony, which is punishable as follows:

  • a maximum prison term of 5 years;
  • A fine ranging from $2,000 to $5,000; and
  • The permanent revocation of one’s driver’s license with the potential for a reinstatement with a showing of hardship after 5 years.

DUI with Serious Bodily Injury

Florida Statute Section 316.193(3) establishes that any person who caused serious bodily injury after driving while impaired by drugs and/or alcohol can be charged with a third-degree felony, which carries with it a potential prison sentence of 5 years and a monetary fine of $5,000. The person may also have their license revoked for a period of 3 years.

DUI Manslaughter

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 maximum jail term of 15 years;
  • a minimum jail term of 124.5 months;
  • a monetary penalty of up to $10,000; and
  • the permanent revocation of one’s driver’s license.

Felony DUI Fleeing the Scene of an Accident Involving Non-Serious Injuries, Serious Bodily Injury or Death

If an impaired individual fled the scene of an accident involving non-serious injuries, serious bodily injuries, or death, the consequences depend upon the facts and circumstances of one’s case.

Specifically, if an impaired hit-and-run driver caused non-serious injuries in an accident, the DUI offense can be charged as a third-degree felony, which is associated with a maximum jail term of 5 years and a $5,000 monetary fine.

If an impaired hit-and-run driver caused serious bodily injury in an accident, the DUI offense can be charged as a second-degree felony, which is associated with a maximum jail term of 5 years and a $10,000 monetary fine.

If an impaired hit-and-run driver caused the death of another individual in an accident, the DUI offense can be charged as a first-degree felony, which is associated with a maximum jail term of 30 years and a $10,000 monetary fine.

Special Defenses for Felony DUI Cases in Florida

There are certain defenses that may apply in one’s DUI felony case. These are as follows:

  • Blood draw. If police do not obtain a warrant or the consent of an accused in drawing their blood, this defense may apply.
  • Accident report privilege. An accused may have immunity if they made a statement during the investigation of their felony DUI case.
  • Field sobriety test. If a field sobriety test was taken after an accident, the results may not be accurate due to the accused’s potential injuries or shock. This evidence, therefore, may be excluded in a DUI felony case.
  • Breathalyzer test. The accused may raise this defense if a breathalyzer test was administrated following the deployment of a vehicle’s airbags. This can skew the results, which may cause the test results to be inadmissible in court.
  • Wheel witness. If an individual left his or her vehicle after the crash but before law enforcement arrived at the scene, they may have difficulty in establishing that the individual was the driver, especially if he or she does not admit to driving or the admissions are excluded as evidence under the accident report privilege.
  • 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 in his or her case.
  • BAC level. If an individual’s BAC was not above the legal limit of 0.08% at the time of the crash, this defense can be asserted.
  • Physical control. A DUI case can be challenged if the individual who was arrested under suspicion of a DUI was not in physical control of his or her vehicle.
  • Chemical test. Evidence obtained from an improperly administered test can be excluded from being admitted at trial.
  • Miranda warnings. If you did not receive Miranda warnings at the time of your arrest and you made statements to police, these can be deemed inadmissible in court.
  • 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:

Is a DUI always prosecuted as a misdemeanor or can be become a felony?

A DUI can be charged as a felony under the following set of circumstances:

A DUI can be charged as a felony of the third-degree when an individual is convicted of a third DUI which occurs within 10 years of any prior DUI conviction. A DUI can also be charged as a felony in the third-degree if the individual faces a fourth DUI conviction or more, regardless of when the prior conviction took place.

A DUI can also be deemed a felony in the first or second-degree if the intoxicated driver caused death or serious bodily injury, or if she or she caused death or serious bodily injury and fled the scene of the crash.

I am being charged with a DUI with property damage/ non-serious injury/serious bodily injury/death. What is the difference between these offenses?

A misdemeanor in the first-degree is brought if an impaired driver caused a crash that involved non-serious injuries and/or property damage.

A felony in the third-degree is brought if the impaired driver caused an accident resulting in serious bodily injury.

A felony in the second-degree is charged if the impaired driver caused an accident involving the death of an individual or unborn quick child.

A felony in the first-degree is charged when a person dies following a DUI-related accident and the at-fault driver leaves the crash scene.

Can I serve my prison term in a residential alcoholism treatment program? 

Yes. Under certain circumstances, a court may choose to allow a convicted individual to serve a portion or all of his or her prison term in a residential program for the treatment of drug or alcohol addiction. The 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 arrested may be released from jail if he or she is no longer visibly impaired, when 8 hours have passed from the time the individual was arrested, or his or her BAC is less than 0.05%.

Your Life and Freedom Depend Upon It; Call Musca Law Today!

Don’t wait to seek qualified counsel to assist you in your Naples DUI manslaughter case. Contact a seasoned Florida criminal law attorney now at Musca Law to discuss your Naples, FL DUI case. Call 888-484-5057 to schedule a free and completely confidential case evaluation. We look forward to making a difference for you.

Get your case started by calling us at (888) 484-5057 today!