DUI Manslaughter Lawyer in New Port Richey, Florida (FL)
Florida DUI Manslaughter Laws, Penalties & Defenses
In Florida, DUI cases involving injury or death are heavily prosecuted. Pursuant to Florida Statute Section 316.193(3)(c)(3), if a driver is charged with DUI manslaughter, then he or she can be charged with a second-degree felony. DUI manslaughter refers to where a driver who is impaired by alcohol or drugs causes another individual to die, including a viable fetus (known as an unborn quick child under Florida Statute Section 782.071.
Highly Skilled Florida DUI Manslaughter Defense Attorneys in Pasco County, FL
If you are facing DUI manslaughter charges in New Port Richey, FL, you should immediately consult with a seasoned attorney at Musca Law who will advise you of your legal rights and options during a completely confidential case review. If we decide to take your case, we will work tirelessly to develop the strongest defense possible to either lessen your charges or have them completely dismissed.
If you have been charged with DUI manslaughter in New Port Richey, FL, you can contact Musca Law 24/7 by calling toll-free 1-888-484-5057.
DUI manslaughter cases can be complex. This is why it is critical that you work with an attorney who is highly experienced in handling DUI cases. These matters are typically challenging because an officer can draw an accused’s blood and send it off to a laboratory to determine if his or her blood is at or above the legal limit. Moreover, these cases also involve notice that is sent to the accused requesting that he or she authorize the release of his or her medical records pursuant to a subpoena duces tecum.
Subpoena for Medical Records of Blood Alcohol Content
As noted above, the State’s Attorney’s Office can request the medical records of an individual who is facing DUI manslaughter charges through issuing a subpoena duces tecum. The accused may also receive a HIPAA 15-day letter for Blood Alcohol Content or a Notice of an Investigating Subpoena For Medical Records.
It is critical for you to understand that those who are requested the above documentation have privacy rights that protects the confidentiality of your medical records. When the state seeks this information, they must adhere to the accused’s due process rights during an evidentiary hearing,
Penalties Associated with DUI Manslaughter Cases
Under Florida law, DUI manslaughter is typically charged as a second-degree felony. It is also a Level 8 offense pursuant to Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code. An individual who has been charged with a second-degree felony could be imprisoned for a maximum of 15 years. Moreover, there are additional penalties associated with a second-degree felony conviction, which include:
- Alcohol or drug abuse counseling/treatment.
- Impoundment of an accused’s automobile;
- Community service
- DUI school;
- An extended probation period;
- A maximum of $10,000 in monetary penalties; and
- the permanent revocation of one’s driver’s license.
Causation in a DUI Manslaughter Case in Florida
Pursuant to Florida Statute Section 316.1933(1)(a), an individual who is charged with driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol must have their blood drawn for testing. Police are entitled to use reasonable force in obtaining a blood sample from the accused. The test must also be administered in a reasonable manner.
Police may force a suspect to submit to a blood test if they suspect the following:
- The person was in actual physical control of a vehicle and drove the vehicle;
- The individual was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at that time; and
- The driver’s vehicle is associated with causing serious bodily harm or death to another person.
Preserving Evidence in a Vehicular Homicide Case
In a DUI manslaughter case, the prosecutor does not need to prove that the alleged offender had the intention of causing harm to another person. It must only be established that he or she operated his or her automobile in a way that resulted in serious bodily harm or death.
At Musca Law, we know how critical it is for an individual accused of DUI manslaughter to work with highly experienced experts who play a vital role in the defense. Law enforcement conducts their own investigation, as well as defense experts, where the information they gather can aid in attacking the prosecution’s case.
The Florida criminal defense lawyers at Musca Law approach each case diligently and aggressively by filing a number of different motions in one’s case, including motions to suppress evidence, motions to dismiss the criminal charges, and motions in limine to exclude prejudicial evidence at trial.
In general, the seasoned Florida criminal law attorneys at Musca Law pursue all of the steps necessary to defend their clients to the fullest extent of the law. These steps include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Being present for the police interrogation of the accused;
- Obtaining statements from witnesses;
- Obtaining medical records of an individual who sustained injuries or died in the accident as a result of his or her injuries;
- Taking photographs of the location where the crash happened, including any tire marks left on the road; and
- Taking photographs of the damage that was sustained by the vehicles involved in the accident.
Permanent Driver's License Revocation & Hardship Reinstatement
Typically, a person’s license will be permanently suspended if he or she is convicted of DUI manslaughter. However, if a person is convicted of DUI manslaughter and does not have any prior DUI convictions, then he or she, pursuant to a showing of hardship, can seek to have his or her license reinstated after 5 years.
A hardship reinstatement hearing can be pursued if the following conditions have been met:
- 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.
- The individual has not driven a vehicle with a suspended license for a period of 5 years or more prior to the hearing;
- 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 was required to have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle for a 2-year period of time; and
- The driver has not ingested any alcohol or drugs for a period of five years or more prior to the hearing.
The Florida DUI manslaughter defense lawyers have over 150 years of combined legal experience assisting clients who face DUI manslaughter charges. Call 888-484-5057 now to speak with a seasoned DUI defense attorney in New Port Richey, FL. Don’t wait; contact us today to learn more about your legal rights and options.
While the majority of DUI cases in New Port Richey, FL are classified as a misdemeanor, felony charges are pursued by the prosecutor under the following set of circumstances:
- DUI with fleeing an accident scene involving serious bodily injuries;
- DUI manslaughter.
- A third DUI within 5 years of any previous conviction;
- A fourth DUI over the course of one’s lifetime;
- DUI with fleeing an accident scene resulting in death.
- DUI with fleeing an accident scene involving non-serious injuries; or
- DUI resulting in serious bodily injury.
Felony for Third DUI within 10 Years
A third DUI conviction within ten years of any prior DUI conviction is charged as a third-degree felony, which is punishable as follows:
- a minimum imprisonment term of 30 days;
- a minimum 10-year revocation of one’s driver’s license, although he or she may be eligible for hardship reinstatement after 2 years.
- the installation of an ignition interlock device for 2 years after a person has their license reinstated;
- a monetary fine ranging from $2,000 to $5,000;
- the impoundment of one’s vehicle for 90 days; and
- a maximum of a 5-year prison sentence; and
Fourth DUI in a Lifetime
A fourth or subsequent DUI is charged as a third-degree felony, which is punishable as follows:
- a fine ranging from $2,000 to $5,000.
- the permanent revocation of one’s driver’s license with the potential for a reinstatement with a showing of hardship after 5 years; and
- a maximum prison term of 5 years.
DUI with Serious Bodily Injury
Under Florida Statute Section 316.193(3), a person can face third-degree felony charges if he or she causes 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.
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;
- 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 individual leaves the scene of an accident that resulted in minor injuries, serious injuries, or the death of another person, there are certain consequences associated with each.If a driver who is impaired by drugs or alcohol leaves the scene of an accident involving minor injuries, the DUI offense can be charged as a third-degree felony. This carries with it a prison term of up to 5 years and a monetary penalty of $5,000.
If an impaired driver causes serious bodily injury in a crash and leaves the scene of the accident, then he or she may face a second-degree felony charge, which carries with it a maximum jail term of 5 years and a monetary fine of $10,000.
If a driver who is intoxicated causes the death of another person and flees the scene of the accident, the offense can be charged as a felony in the first-degree, which carries with it a maximum prison term of 5 years and a monetary penalty of $10,000.
Special Defenses for Felony DUI Cases in Florida
There are certain defenses that may apply in a DUI case, which are:
- Breathalyzer test. The accused may bring forth this defense if a breathalyzer test was administered after a vehicle’s airbags were deployed. This can cause a higher blood alcohol concentration (BAC), leading to potentially inaccurate results.
- Accident report privilege. A person faces immunity if they made a statement during law enforcement’s investigation of their case.
- BAC level. If an individual’s BAC was not 0.08% or higher when the accident occurred, this defense may be brought forth by the defense.
- Blood draw. An officer must seek a warrant or the consent of the accused before taking his or her blood. If they do not, then this defense can be brought forth.
- Field sobriety test. If a person is injured, has a physical disability, or is in shock following an accident, it may cause an inaccurate field sobriety test.
- Intervening cause. If the defendant did not cause or contribute to the death of another person or unborn quick child, then this defense can be raised.
- Physical control. An individual can challenge the prosecutor’s case by claiming that he or she was not in physical control of his or her vehicle when arrested.
- Chemical test. If a chemical test was not properly administered, evidence of the same can be excluded from court and this defense can be brought forth.
- Miranda warnings. If you make statements and have not been read the Miranda warnings, this evidence can be excluded and this defense can be asserted.
- 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.
- 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 charged as a misdemeanor or can I face potential felony charges?
A person can face third-degree felony charges if he or she is convicted of a third DUI which occurs within 10 years of a previous DUI conviction.
A person can face a third degree-felony when he or she is convicted of a fourth DUI or more, regardless of when the previous DUI conviction occurred.
A person can face first or second-degree felony charges if he or she was impaired and caused death or serious injuries to another person, or fled the scene of an accident involving death or serious injuries.
I am being charged with a DUI with property damage/ non-serious injury/serious bodily injury/death. What is the difference between these charges?
If an impaired driver causes non-serious injuries or damages property in an accident, he or she can be charged with a misdemeanor in the first-degree.
If a person who is impaired causes serious bodily injury to another, he or she can be charged with a third-degree felony.
If an individual is impaired and causes the death of another individual or unborn quick child, then he or she can face second-degree felony charges. For those who do not render aid to an injured victim who dies or if the impaired driver leaves the scene of the accident, he or she can face first-degree felony charges, which are associated with the most severe consequences.
Can I serve my prison term in a residential alcoholism treatment program?
In certain cases, the court, in its sole discretion, can serve a part of all of his or her imprisonment term in a residential alcohol/drug treatment program. Time spent in such a program can be credited toward the term of imprisonment.
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) until 8 hours have passed from the time the individual was placed under arrest, (ii) the individual’s BAC is less than 0.05%, (iii) the person is no longer under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Your Life and Liberty Depend Upon It; Contact the Seasoned New Port Richey DUI Defense Attorneys at Musca Law Today!
Don’t wait to seek qualified counsel to assist you in your DUI manslaughter case. Contact a seasoned Florida criminal law attorney now at Musca Law to discuss your New Port Richey, FL DUI case. Call (727) 480-9675 to schedule a free and completely confidential case evaluation. We look forward to making a difference for you.
8520 Government Dr STE 5
New Port Richey, FL 34654
Phone: (727) 480-9675
Hours: Open now: Open 24 hours
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