If you have been arrested for DUI Manslaughter in the Tampa Bay Area including St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Pinellas County, Tampa, Hillsborough County, or surrounding counties, contact the Morris Law Firm, P.A..
Melinda Morris, a criminal defense attorney in St. Petersburg, FL, is experienced in fighting DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide cases throughout Pinellas County, and the surrounding counties of Pasco County, Manatee County, Sarasota County and Hillsborough County, FL.
Attorney for DUI Manslaughter in St. Petersburg, FL
Regardless of the circumstances, a traffic accident that results in a fatality is an unfortunate and tragic event for all of those involved. Especially in cases where Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is involved, law enforcement may vigorously prosecute the accused without regard to intent.
Though the Morris Law Firm, P.A. believes in preventing Driving Under the Influence and encourages personal responsibility, we believe that individuals are entitled to an experienced, skillful, and equally vigorous defense where such matters are of the utmost significance and consequence.
What is DUI Manslaughter?
If a person driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances causes an accident in which someone is killed, he or she may be charged with DUI Manslaughter. DUI Manslaughter is a felony offense in the State of Florida and is punishable by a mandatory minimum prison term of four (4) years.
Florida Law on DUI Manslaughter:
Florida State Statute Chapter 316.193 deals with Driving Under the Influence and specifically DUI Manslaughter.
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a serious crime in the State of Florida punishable by fines and potential imprisonment. DUI also carries significant administrative penalties through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and may include loss of your driver’s license.
- DUI Manslaughter is causing the death of another when driving under the influence.
- DUI Manslaughter is a felony offense punishable by a minimum mandatory prison sentence of 4 years.
- The prison sentence for DUI Manslaughter can be up to 15 years and carry significant fines under Florida State Statutes.
- A conviction for DUI Manslaughter carries administrative penalties through the DMV including a permanent revocation of your driver’s license.
The DUI Statue provides, in part:
Driving under the influence; penalties. –
(1) A person is guilty of the offense of driving under the influence and is subject to punishment as provided in subsection (2) if the person is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle within this state and:
(a) The person is under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance set forth in s. 877.111, or any substance controlled under chapter 893, when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired;
(b) The person has a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood; or
(c) The person has a breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.
The statue further specifically states:
(3) Any person:
(a) Who is in violation of subsection (1);
(b) Who operates a vehicle; and
(c) Who, by reason of such operation, causes or contributes to causing:
1. Damage to the property or person of another commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
2. Serious bodily injury to another, as defined in s. 316.1933, commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
3. The death of any human being or unborn quick child commits DUI manslaughter, and commits:
a. A felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s.775.084.
b. A felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, if:
(I) At the time of the crash, the person knew, or should have known, that the crash occurred; and
(II) The person failed to give information and render aid as required by s. 316.062.
For purposes of this subsection, the definition of the term “unborn quick child” shall be determined in accordance with the definition of viable fetus as set forth in s. 782.071. A person who is convicted of DUI manslaughter shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 4 years.
Issues / Potential Defenses:
- Actual Physical Control – the prosecution must be able to prove the defendant was actually driving the vehicle. This may be especially challenging when accidents are involved and/or there is a lack of “wheel witnesses.”
- Miranda Rights – if you were not properly read your Miranda Rights, incriminating statements you may have made to law enforcement may not be admissible in court.
- Implied consent warnings – if the law enforcement officer did not warn you of the penalties of declining to take a chemical test, or gave it inaccurately, the test results may not be admissible in court.
- Officer Observations and Interpretations – the law enforcement officer’s observations and interpretations as to the level of intoxication may be questioned.
- Field Sobriety Tests – the conditions under which the Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) were given and the adherence to protocol of administering the test may be called into question.
- Blood-Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Level – Breath, blood, and urine testing is a complicated matter. There are several potential defenses that may be utilized to call into question the exact blood-alcohol concentration (BAC).
- Testing Timeframe – If the breath, blood, and urine testing was performed during the absorptive phase the results may be inaccurate and called into question. When actively drinking it takes approximately 45 minutes to three hours (depending on a variety of factors including weight, stomach contents, etc.) to complete the absorption phase.
- Retrograde Extrapolation – Blood-Alcohol Tests are administered after an arrest for DUI. Thus, law enforcement must prove that the level recorded at the time of the test is relevant (and incriminating) to the time the accused was driving.
We will strive to file any necessary motions to dismiss or motions to attempt to exclude evidence in an effort to maximize your opportunity for a positive outcome. As your criminal defense lawyer, we will represent you at any necessary pretrial hearings, pretrial motions, and at trial.
What To Do Next:
If you have been arrested:
1. Don’t speak to the police – ask to have an attorney present.
2. Don’t give a written statement – again, ask to have an attorney present.
3. Contact an attorney immediately.
4. Collect and document your own evidence.
Lawyer in Pinellas County for DUI Manslaughter Cases
If you have been arrested for DUI Manslaughter, contact a St. Pete DUI lawyer to discuss possible defenses and specific strategies that may exist in your case.
Call the Morris Law Firm, P.A. at (727) 388-4736 to discuss your case directly with an attorney, or fill out our online form to be contacted for a Free Initial Consultation. The Morris Law Firm, P.A. can help and has specific knowledge and experience in defending DUI Manslaughter offenders throughout Florida.
Melinda Morris represents clients on a variety of felony DUI cases including a third DUI within ten years, a fourth DUI, DUI with serious bodily injury or DUI manslaughter. Let us put our experience to work for you.
This article was last updated on Tuesday, April 17, 2018.