Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in North Port, as well as in the rest of the State of Florida and across the country. In fact, Florida has some of the strictest DUI penalties and consequences in the United States. If you are convicted of a DUI or DWI offense in Florida, this will stay on your criminal history record for 75 years. You also won’t be given the opportunity to have this sealed or expunged. So, if you’re facing criminal charges for driving under the influence in North Port, Florida, particularly for DUI manslaughter, you’ll need to contact a Florida criminal defense lawyer as soon as you are able. You want to be sure you have someone in your corner to help you achieve the best possible result for your case.
Here at The Law Place, we have some of the top criminal defense lawyers serving North Port and the State of Florida. When it comes to DUI manslaughter, our team works around the clock to fight criminal charges and get results for our clients. So, if you’ve caused a death whilst driving under the influence, you need to get in contact with The Law Place as soon as possible. One of our experienced criminal defense attorneys will support you through the process and start work on your case immediately.
With over 75 years of combined experience in a variety of practice areas, we’re able to provide excellent legal advice. Many of our team have also received an AVVO lawyer rating of 10.0, so you know you are in safe hands. If you’ve been accused of a crime involving DUI manslaughter in North Port, speak to a criminal defense lawyer today on (941) 444-4444 for a no-obligation, free consultation. Phone lines are open 24/7.
Statistics for Traffic Incident Fatalities Involving Drugs or Alcohol
Driving under the influence is a prevalent issue in America today. In fact, national statistics from the NHTSA show that nearly 30% of all traffic-related deaths occur because of driving under the influence.
- Men are statistically more likely to commit DUI manslaughter than women. In fact, in 2017, there were 4 male drivers involved in DUI fatalities to every 1 female driver.
- Florida has the 3rd highest number of annual drug or alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in the United States.
- Drivers are at the highest risk of committing a DUI crime on the weekend and after dark.
The Difference Between DWI and DUI Manslaughter
In North Port as well as the wider United States, the terms DUI and DWI are often used interchangeably. However, driving under the influence (DUI) usually refers to driving whilst under the influence of alcohol, whereas the legal definition of DWI is to drive whilst under the influence of intoxicating substances such as drugs.
Whether your DUI manslaughter charge relates to alcohol or controlled substances, you’ll need to work with a criminal defense lawyer to attempt to reduce your penalties and improve your case outcome.
What Florida Law Says about DUI and DWI Manslaughter
According to Florida law and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV), it is an offense to drive whilst under the influence of any alcohol or controlled substances. In North Port, FL., as well as the wider state of Florida, a driver is considered ‘under the influence’ if their blood alcohol level (BAC) sits at 0.08% or over.
The specific requirements that lead to a DUI or DWI manslaughter charge in North Port, FL., include:
- Operating or controlling a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or over, or whilst under the influence of and impaired by controlled substances, such as narcotic drugs.
- Through this action directly causing or contributing to the death of another adult, child, or unborn child if they are developed enough that they are able to live outside of the womb.
According to Florida Statute 316.027, a North Port driver involved in a vehicle crash that caused the death of another person must remain at the scene of the crime until:
- Law enforcement has collected their name, address, vehicle registration, and viewed their license, if available.
- Arrangements have been made to carry victims away from the scene.
- They have reported the crash to law enforcement if none are present already.
However, you are not required to provide self-incriminating information.
Is Manslaughter Caused by Driving Under the Influence a Violent Crime?
One of the most asked questions surrounding DUI manslaughter is whether it is classed as a violent crime according to the law. In fact, yes, manslaughter caused by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is considered a violent crime in North Port, FL.
Other types of vehicular violent crimes include:
- Driving under the influence – Operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or higher.
- Vehicular homicide – Causing the death of another person due to operating a vehicle recklessly. The defendant does not have to be intoxicated to receive this charge.
- Reckless driving resulting in serious bodily injury – Causing serious injury to another person whilst driving recklessly or dangerously.
- Crash involving death or personal injuries – An unintentional traffic accident resulting in the death or personal injury of others. A driver does not have to be intoxicated to be charged with this crime.
If you’ve been arrested or charged with any vehicular violent crime in North Port, whether or not it was the result of driving under the influence, get in touch with The Law Place today to seek legal representation. Speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney serving North Port about your case and receive a no-obligation, free consultation.
Types of DUI and DWI Manslaughter Charges in North Port, Florida
Being convicted of DUI or DWI manslaughter drastically increases the level of penalties that you might receive compared to a DUI case without a death. So, if you’ve been charged with this crime, it’s important to work with an experienced North Port criminal defense lawyer in order to safeguard your future.
DUI manslaughter falls under the category of an ‘involuntary manslaughter’ charge, which means that the death of the victim was caused accidentally, without intent. This is as opposed to voluntary manslaughter, where death was caused as a result of provocation.
The exact penalty or charge varies depending on the specifics of each case. However, in North Port, FL., there are two main categories of DUI manslaughter:
- Ordinary negligence – The defendant’s negligence was brief or low level. For example, a death was caused by violating a traffic law or checking a phone, which resulted in a major accident.
- Gross negligence – The defendant caused a major traffic accident by acting recklessly and dangerously. For example, a driver is so intoxicated that they veer into another lane, onto the sidewalk, or into oncoming traffic.
It’s also important to note that according to Florida Statute 316.193, DUI manslaughter is usually classed as a second-degree felony. However, this charge becomes a first-degree felony if:
- At the time of the crash, you were aware that a crash had occurred.
- You refused to give information or render aid.
- You fled the scene of the crime.
Different Penalties for Driving Under the Influence in North Port, FL.
The penalties for being convicted of manslaughter whilst driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol vary depending on whether you are charged with a second-degree felony or a first-degree felony.
DUI Manslaughter – Second Degree Felony
If you are convicted of DUI manslaughter as a second-degree felony, you could receive the following penalties depending on the specifics of your case:
- Up to 15 years of jail time with a mandatory 4-year minimum term of imprisonment.
- License suspension or revocation.
- Up to $15,000 in fines.
- Community service.
- Vehicle impoundment.
- Requirement to attend vehicle substance abuse educational courses and treatment.
- Requirement to undergo a psychosocial analysis.
DUI Manslaughter – First Degree Felony
If you failed to give adequate information at the time of a crash caused by impairment from drugs or alcohol, you could be charged with a first-degree felony for DUI manslaughter. This is often called ‘DUI manslaughter, leaving the scene.’
In this case, your penalties will become harsher, and you could receive:
- Up to 30 years of jail time.
- Up to $10,000 in fines.
- Potential loss of driving privileges.
- Criminal convictions that will permanently remain on your criminal record.
How Could a Criminal Defense Attorney Defend Me in Court?
If you have been accused of committing DUI manslaughter and your charge is brought to trial in North Port, FL., there are several ways in which a criminal defense lawyer could defend you.
Your Florida criminal defense attorney could choose to call into question:
- The reason for your traffic stop – Criminal law enforcement officers are only able to pull you over if they have probable cause. This means that they need to have reasonable suspicion that you have been violating traffic laws or that you are intoxicated whilst operating a vehicle. If they have pulled you over for any other reason, they could be accused of conducting an illegal traffic stop.
- Inaccurate results from a breathalyzer test – Breath analyzer equipment designed to work out blood alcohol content (BAC) can be unreliable. For a driver to be considered ‘under the influence,’ they will need to have a BAC of 0.08% or over. However, lawyers could argue that the breathalyzer equipment has been improperly maintained, leading to a false result.
- Inadmissible field sobriety tests – An officer will have conducted a field sobriety test at the time of the incident. However, these results can be questioned if it can be proved that the defendant had a prior balance/ coordination issue or a physical disability, which could have led the officer to believe they were under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Doctor-prescribed medications and lack of sleep can also be common factors leading to a false DUI charge.
- The defendant’s statement – A defendant’s statement could be moved to be suppressed if the defendant did not understand their rights due to improper recitation or omission of Miranda warnings by a law enforcement officer. This would violate the defendant’s Fifth Amendment right to avoid giving self-incriminating information and their Sixth Amendment right to receive legal counsel.
Regardless of the specifics of your case, it’s important to contact a criminal defense attorney serving North Port, Florida, at your earliest convenience. This is because both evidence and memory degrade over time. Therefore, you have a better chance of fighting any criminal charges the sooner you seek legal counsel. With a free consultation at The Law Place, you have nothing to lose.
Contact Our North Port, FL., Criminal Defense Lawyers for a Free Consultation
Being charged with a crime involving a death whilst driving under the influence can come with some severe penalties. So, if you’re facing criminal charges for DUI or DWI manslaughter in North Port, Florida, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer in your corner to safeguard your future.
Our experienced criminal defense attorneys can provide support and legal advice. Attorneys at our law firm have over 75 years of experience, and many of our team also have an AVVO lawyer rating of 10.0. We’re able to offer hands-on support and are committed to investigating every case with strong attention to detail. We’ll support you through the legal process, help you understand the charges you face, and explain the penalties you could receive. Together, we’ll work on your DUI manslaughter charge and find out how to achieve the best outcome for your criminal case.
So, if you’re facing a charge for DUI manslaughter, a wider DUI charge, or perhaps further alcohol or drug crimes, contact The Law Place for skilled representation. Get in touch today for a free consultation and to speak to one of our qualified criminal defense attorneys serving North Port. Call today on (941) 444-4444. Phone lines are open 24/7.