DUI Manslaughter Lawyers in Tallahassee, Florida (FL)
There are serious repercussions associated with driving under the influence in Tallahassee and the State of Florida, especially when the accident caused the death of another individual. The charges that will be filed by the prosecution following a DUI-related accident involving a death will be DUI manslaughter, which constitutes a second-degree felony in Florida.
Musca Law: Seasoned DUI Manslaughter Defense Lawyers Serving Tallahassee
If you are facing DUI manslaughter charges in Tallahassee, you need to speak with a skilled Florida criminal defense attorney like those at Musca Law. DUI manslaughter cases are typically complex and require significant skills and experience to defend. When you work with an attorney at Musca Law, you will have the seasoned representation that you need to effectively combat the charges that have been filed against you.
During each stage of your case, our attorneys work hard to protect our clients’ legal rights and help them build the strongest defense strategy possible. We provide free and confidential consultations, and our office is available to schedule yours when you call us today at (888) 484-5057.
Penalties Associated with Leon County DUI Manslaughter Cases
The majority of DUI manslaughter cases in Tallahassee are charged as second-degree felonies. A conviction for DUI manslaughter carries with it serious penalties, including a jail term of up to fifteen years. Additional consequences that can follow a conviction for DUI manslaughter may include the following:
- A monetary fine of up to $10,000;
- The revocation of one’s driving privileges on a permanent basis;
- Vehicle impoundment;
- Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) in one’s vehicle for a certain period of time;
- Order to pursue alcohol and/or drug abuse counseling;
- Order to undergo community service;
- Order to attend substance abuse programs/classes; and
- Probation following the completion of imprisonment.
In addition to the above legal repercussions associated with DUI manslaughter, a conviction for this offense can drastically affect the life of the accused and his or her family. Specifically, lost housing and jobs, social stigma, and emotional trauma associated with a DUI manslaughter conviction can continue to plague the accused for several years after his or her sentence has been served. A seasoned Florida criminal defense attorney can help you fight your charges and avoid the many negative effects of a DUI manslaughter conviction.
Florida’s Blood Test Requirement in DUI Manslaughter Cases
Under Florida Statute § 316.1933(1)(a), a blood test must be performed on all individuals accused of causing death or serious bodily injury to another due to driving while impaired by drugs and/or alcohol. The blood test is used to determine the level of alcohol and/or drugs in one’s body at the time of the accident. The law specifically provides that the DUI suspect must submit to a test under the above circumstances, and police can use reasonable force necessary in requiring them to do so. There are certain factors that must be present in order for a blood test to be deemed mandatory, which are provided in Florida Statute § 316.1933(1)(a). These factors include:
- The individual who is suspected of being impaired by drugs and/or alcohol was operating a vehicle or was in “actual physical control of the vehicle;
- The arresting officer has probable cause to believe that the person is impaired by alcohol, a controlled substance, or a chemical substance; and
- The individual’s automobile caused death or serious bodily injury to another person.
Due to the wording of the statute, if the above factors are met, there is no other option – the blood test must be administered. The test cannot be performed by an officer (he or she can only request and facilitate the test), as it must be done by a duly licensed person such as a paramedic, lab director, doctor, nurse, or technician. It is important to realize that blood tests performed for medical purposes that were not requested by law enforcement can be admissible as evidence in a Florida DUI manslaughter case.
Subpoenas for Medical Records and Blood Tests in Tallahassee DUI Manslaughter Cases
The prosecution in a Tallahassee DUI manslaughter case will typically ask for copies of an accused’s medical records after an accident, which includes the results of any blood tests that were performed. If you are facing DUI manslaughter charges, you may receive a HIPAA medical authorization letter that enables the hospital to release your medical records to the requesting entity or individual. The prosecution wants to have access to these records in order to prove that you were impaired by drugs and/or alcohol at the time of the crash.
Notwithstanding the above, it is important to realize that your privacy is entitled to certain protections. Specifically, there are both federal and state laws that are meant to protect individuals from the release of confidential information, and your Florida DUI manslaughter defense attorney will advise you as to what you do and do not have to release.
Preserving Evidence in a Tallahassee DUI Manslaughter Case
Despite the enormous consequences associated with a DUI manslaughter conviction, the prosecution does not have a huge hurdle to overcome in establishing these cases like they do in regular homicide cases. Specifically, the prosecution does not have to prove that the accused intended or meant to cause a crash that resulted in injuries and/or death. Rather, all they need to show is that the accused was driving the automobile, the automobile caused the crash, and the accused was impaired by drugs and/or alcohol at the time.
In providing these elements, the prosecution will conduct a thorough investigation and build the case against you that includes the testimony of witnesses. In order to have a chance of prevailing in your case, you will also have to build your own case by conducting an independent investigation, analyzing the facts, and consulting with experts. Your Tallahassee DUI manslaughter defense lawyer will work with you to highlight the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and challenge the state’s evidence.
The lawyers at Musca Law work to develop a comprehensive defense to each DUI manslaughter case. In so doing, our lawyers conduct a proactive investigation of your case as well as prepare motions to evidence that is prejudicial, illegally obtained, and irrelevant. We work to level the playing field for our clients in order to give them the best chances of having a favorable outcome in their case.
Some of the first steps that we take on behalf of our clients includes:
- Reviewing the evidence against the charges that the state has filed against you;
- Ordering copies of the medical records for the individual who perished in the crash;
- Ordering copies of the police report;
- Obtaining accident scene photographs;
- Locating witnesses and obtaining their statements;
- Gathering or taking photographs of the accident scene as well as the vehicles involved in the accident; and
- Offering legal guidance and advocacy during police interrogations/interviews.
The above list is not exhaustive, as it represents just a portion of the integral steps we take on behalf of our clients after they hire us. Contact Musca Law at 1 (888) 484-5057 to learn more about how our attorneys can help you to fight for your legal rights and interests.
Driver’s License Revocation for a DUI Manslaughter Conviction in Tallahassee
An individual who is convicted of DUI manslaughter in Tallahassee will most likely lose his or her driving privileges for a certain period of time. Keep in mind that it is possible to have one’s driving privileges restored if the individual had no prior DUI convictions.
In certain circumstances, an individual may be able to seek a renewal of his or her driving privileges pursuant to a showing of hardship. This is done through requesting a hardship hearing, and the individual must meet certain criteria to restore his or her driving privileges. This criteria is as follows:
- The successful completion of DUI school and supervision under the DUI program for the entire revocation period;
- No additional arrests for drug-related crimes within five years prior to the hearing;
- The offender has not driven with a revoked license for five years prior to the hearing;
- The use of an ignition interlock device on his or her vehicle for two years; and
- The offender has not consumed drugs or alcohol for five years prior to the hearing.
It may be a challenge to establish a hardship necessary to restore one’s driving privileges, and your attorney will advise you as to whether this is a viable option in your case. There is also a strict deadline for requesting a hearing, which your attorney will discuss with you and ensure that you meet, if the time has not already lapsed. Call Musca Law today to learn more about the reinstatement of one’s license following an arrest or conviction for DUI manslaughter in Tallahassee.
Defenses for a Tallahassee DUI Manslaughter Case
In a Tallahassee DUI manslaughter case, your attorney will develop and raise certain defenses on your behalf, all of which depend upon the facts and circumstances of your case. Some of the most common defenses raised in DUI manslaughter cases include:
- Challenging the accused’s blood alcohol concentration at the time of the crash;
- Asserting that the results of a field sobriety test and breach test are not reliable or that the methods used for those tests were improperly administered;
- Raising a dispute as to whether the accused the accused was driving the vehicle or in physical control of the vehicle at the time of the accident;
- Asserting that the accident did not cause the death of the individual or that another factor caused the death after the accident;
- Arguing that the Miranda warnings were not given to the accused before he or she made statements; or
- Asserting that the prosecution has not met its burden of proof.
It is important to understand that one or several of these defenses may apply in your case, and your lawyer can advise you accordingly in this regard. Keep in mind that your specific defense strategy is influenced by the facts and circumstances surrounding the crash, the events that took place both before and after the crash, as well as the tactics employed by law enforcement and the prosecution in your case. After you hire a Tallahassee criminal defense attorney, he or she will work to develop the strongest and most effective defense strategy in your case. Contact Musca Law today to learn more about your legal rights and options.
Felony Charges in Florida for DUI Accidents in Tallahassee
Typically, DUI manslaughter is charged as a second-degree felony in Florida. Many other DUI cases will only involve misdemeanor charges, and the facts and circumstances surrounding each accident will determine what level of charges that the prosecution will seek.
DUI manslaughter is usually considered a second-degree felony in Florida. Many other DUI cases will only involve misdemeanor charges, however, the circumstances surrounding each accident will determine what level of charges the state will pursue. Circumstances that usually result in felony charges in DUI cases under Florida law include:
- A DUI-related crash that results in the death of another person, including a viable fetus;
- A DUI-related crash that causes serious bodily harm to another person;
- A DUI-related crash that involves injuries or death and where the driver flees the accident scene;
- Multiple DUI convictions within a ten-year time period; or
- Four convictions of within the lifetime of an individual.
The facts and circumstances of your case dictate the nature of the charges that the prosecution seeks against you, as well as the availability of defenses. During your initial consultation with one of the seasoned attorneys at Musca Law, you will review the details surrounding the crash, your background, and whether you have been previously charged or convicted of a DUI in the past.
DUI Accident Leading to Serious Bodily Harm
Under Florida Statute § 316.193, a person will be charged with a third-degree felony if he or she is operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol and causes a crash that results in serious bodily injury to another individual. The penalties associated with a third-degree felony charge, among others, is a term of imprisonment for up to five years as well as a monetary fine of up to $5,000. An individual convicted of a DUI after an accident that causes serious bodily harm can also lose his or her driving privileges for a three year time period.
Third DUI Within a Ten-Year Period in Florida
According to Florida Statute § 316.193, an individual can be charged with a third-degree felony if he or she has been convicted of two other DUIs, and one of those convictions occurred within the same ten-year time period as the current charges. The penalties for a third DUI conviction include:
- A prison term of up to five years and no less than 30 days;
- Impoundment of the vehicle involved in the accident;
- Imposition of a fine up to $5,000;
- Revocation of the person’s driver’s license for ten years; and
- The installation of an ignition interlock device on the accused’s vehicle to remain for two years after the reinstatement of the person’s driver’s license.
The above are serious consequences that demand immediate attention. Your attorney will help you to sift through the facts of your case and develop the strongest defense possible in an effort to avoid the severe repercussions associated with a third-degree felony conviction.
Fourth DUI Within a Lifetime in Florida
In Florida, if a person who has three prior DUI convictions gets convicted of a fourth DUI, the penalties will be the same for a third conviction (punishable as a third-degree felony), however, the individual will permanently lose his or her driving privileges. It is important to make sure that the charges against you are consistent with the facts and vital that you fight the charges to avoid the stricter penalties of a third-degree felony.
DUI Charges Upon Fleeing the Scene in Tallahassee
Felony charges may be filled in a Tallahassee DUI accident if the driver flees the scene of an accident that involved injuries. The nature of the charges hinges upon the severity of the injuries that resulted from the crash.
If a DUI-related hit-and-run crash results in minor injuries, the driver could face a prison term of up to five years and have a monetary fine imposed of up to $5,000.
If a DUI-related hit-and-run crash results in serious bodily injury, the driver could face a second-degree felony charge, which carries with it a prison term of up to five years and a monetary fine imposed of up to $10,000.
If a DUI-related hit-and-run crash results in the death of another individual, the driver could be charged with a first-degree felony, which carries with it a prison term of up to 30 years and a monetary fine imposed of up to $10,000.
Contact Musca Law Today to Speak to a Skilled Tallahassee DUI Manslaughter Attorney
If you have been charged with DUI manslaughter or any other DUI-related charges in Tallahassee or anywhere in Florida, contact Musca Law now. You will have the opportunity to speak to a skilled criminal defense attorney during a free and completely confidential case consultation. The lawyers at Musca law have a combined 150 years of experience serving our clients in criminal defense matters, including DUI manslaughter cases, and we are committed to protecting the rights and interests of those facing DUI charges. We understand the seriousness of DUI charges and how they affect the lives of families, and we work to achieve the best outcomes for our clients.
We are available for weekend and evening appointments and will schedule your free consultation during a time that works best for you. You can reach us today by calling (888) 484-5057.