According to The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, over 3,000 deaths were caused by car accidents in 2018 alone, and a number of these occurred in Port Charlotte. If you have been involved in a car accident that resulted in wrongful death, then it’s crucial that you seek legal representation as soon as possible. You could potentially be facing second-degree, or even first-degree, felony charges and a lengthy prison sentence. On top of this, you could be sued in a civil court and ordered to pay compensation to the family of the victim.
Some people may assume that because they didn’t have any intent to cause a fatality, then they won’t face felony charges. However, regardless of your actions leading up to the accident, you may still be held responsible for serious injury or death and could face serious charges and severe penalties.
So if you or a loved one have been arrested and charged with causing an accident involving death in Port Charlotte, Florida, then you should contact The Law Place immediately. Our criminal defense lawyers has over 75 years of combined experience in dealing with the Florida legal system and helping clients just like you, so you can trust that by working with us, you’ll be giving yourself the best chance at a favorable outcome, whether that be reduced or dismissed charges, or lenient penalties. For a free consultation with a skilled criminal defense attorney, contact us today at (941) 444-4444!
Death Caused By Reckless or Careless Driving
It is possible that if you were involved in a car accident that involved death in Florida, then you could face charges of negligence if the prosecution attempt to show that the accident was caused by reckless or careless driving.
Under Florida Statute 316.192, any driver in Port Charlotte who drives “in a willful or wanton disregard” for the safety of other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians, may be found guilty of reckless driving. Examples of reckless driving include speeding dangerously above the speed limit, ignoring traffic signals, tailgating, and more. If a driver caused a fatality due to reckless driving, then they will be facing third-degree felony charges.
Death Caused by Driving Under the Influence (DUI Manslaughter)
If you were discovered to have been driving under the influence at the time of a car accident that resulted in death, then you will likely be facing DUI manslaughter charges.
As is stated in Florida Statute 316.193, you can be convicted of a DUI if you are found to be operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A driver is deemed to be under the influence of alcohol if they have a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or above. If you were driving under the influence and caused a fatal accident, then you could be convicted of DUI manslaughter and face second-degree or first-degree felony charges.
Penalties You Could Face if Convicted of Causing an Accident Involving Death in Port Charlotte, FL.
As with all cases, the penalties that a defendant could face if convicted vary widely depending on the specific circumstances surrounding the individual case. The court will also consider any prior convictions when sentencing. Despite these important factors, the following are guidelines for how defendants may be sentenced:
- For a third-degree felony – You will face up to 5 years in prison or on probation and a fine of up to $5,000.
- For a second-degree felony – You will face up to 15 years in prison or on probation and a fine of up to $10,000.
- For a first-degree felony – You will face up to 30 years in prison or on probation and a fine of up to $10,000.
The penalties you may be facing can be incredibly severe, especially if the accident was a one-off mistake. To give yourself the best chance at avoiding the worst potential penalties and even a conviction, you should contact The Law Place today and schedule a free consultation with a highly skilled criminal defense attorney.
Consequences of a Felony Conviction in Port Charlotte, Florida
Not only will you be facing a harsh sentence if you’re found guilty of causing an accident that resulted in death, but you may also find yourself enduring lifelong and devastating consequences, as felony charges cannot be expunged or sealed.
Unless sealed, everyone’s criminal record can be accessed by the public, meaning that potential employers, the bank, landlords, and others will be able to view it. If you have a felony on your record, you may be prevented from applying for certain jobs and housing, unable to own a firearm, and more.
On top of this, if you’ve previously been convicted of two or more felonies, you could face a lengthy prison term under a Florida recidivist sentencing scheme, as is stated under Florida Statute 775.084. This is more commonly known as the “three strikes, and you’re out” law.
The only way you can avoid these consequences is by securing an acquittal or getting the charges dismissed, and you’re unlikely to do this without the help of a skilled Port Charlotte lawyer. So if you’ve been involved in an auto accident that resulted in death, don’t hesitate to contact our legal team at The Law Place today.
Negligence Under Florida Law
Negligence is often the main factor when it comes to auto accidents that ultimately result in death. Negligence is when you don’t act as carefully as any other reasonable, logical person would have done under the same circumstances.
If you have been involved in a fatal Port Charlotte car accident, then it’s likely that the prosecution will seek to convince the court that you acted recklessly, negligently, or with a wanton disregard for the safety of others.
In order for the prosecution to achieve a conviction, they must be able to prove a number of other factors beyond a reasonable doubt. These factors include the following:
- The duty of care – The prosecution must be able to prove that there is a legal duty for Florida residents to act with a duty of care and meet a certain standard of conduct to protect others, and also that the defendant failed to meet this standard of conduct.
- Damage and injury caused – Secondly, the prosecution should prove that there was an injury, damage, and/or fatality and that it was caused because of a breach of the legal requirement to act with a duty of care.
- Causation – This is where the prosecution must prove that the defendant’s negligent actions caused the death of the victim.
While it is the prosecution’s job to prove that the defendant was guilty of wrongful death, it will be your criminal defense attorney’s job to prevent them from being able to successfully do so. Therefore, if you or a family member have been involved in an accident resulting in death in Port Charlotte, Florida, you should contact our law firm immediately. We offer a free consultation with a knowledgeable lawyer to anyone facing a criminal charge and will be able to offer you excellent legal advice, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with The Law Place today!
Possible Defences for an Accident Involving Death in Port Charlotte, FL.
Cases involving death can be sensitive and complex to manage, which is why it’s in your best interest to seek professional legal representation from a team of adept accident lawyers. An experienced criminal defense attorney will speak to you about the circumstances leading up to your case in great detail, thoroughly investigate it, and then use their knowledge to tailor a strong defense strategy based on your specific case. Every case is different, meaning every defense is too, but below are some of the defenses that our Port Charlotte attorneys have used on behalf of their clients before:
- Wrongfully accused – Your lawyer could discover evidence that proves you were wrongfully accused of the crime.
- Comparative negligence – It could be proven that the deceased was partly responsible for their own death, and it wasn’t entirely your fault.
- No causation – There may be evidence that can prove that your actions didn’t cause the fatality. As the prosecution has to establish a connection between your actions and the death that happened, your lawyer has the chance to find weaknesses in their case, which could lead to your charges being reduced or even dismissed.
- State of mind – Your attorney may be able to find evidence that proves you weren’t in the right state of mind at the time of the accident.
Regardless of the circumstances of your arrest, the criminal defense attorneys at The Law Place are here to help and guide you through the legal process, so contact us today to schedule a free consultation!
Call The Law Place Today!
Motor vehicle accidents are a common occurrence in Port Charlotte, and, sadly, some of these ultimately lead to death. If you have been involved in a car accident that resulted in death, then you need legal representation now. You will likely be facing severe penalties and consequences, and working with a reputable law firm will ensure you have the best chance at avoiding a conviction and sentence.
At The Law Place, our lawyers have decades of experience in helping clients just like you, so for a case review that you can rely on, call our law office based in Port Charlotte today to arrange a free consultation.
We are ready to fight your case, so contact us today at (941) 444-4444!