According to data gathered by the Miami Herald, prison terms for those convicted of a Florida DUI manslaughter vary widely from case to case and from county to county. From 2012 to 2016, the statewide average sentence for a Florida DUI manslaughter conviction was just under ten years, although Miami-Dade County had the lightest sentences overall, with an average of just over 6 years in prison. Heavier sentences came from Broward County, where those convicted of DUI manslaughter serve just under 10 years, and the heaviest sentences came from the Palm Beach area.
While these sentences for DUI manslaughter are “averages,” and an individual’s sentence will depend on the DUI defense attorney’s skill, the circumstances, prior criminal history of the defendant, media coverage and the desires of the victim’s loved ones, you can see that a sentence for Florida DUI manslaughter can be harsh, forever altering your life. Additionally, in 2007, Florida added a four-year minimum mandatory sentence for DUI manslaughter convictions.
It is extremely important that you contact a skilled Florida DUI attorney as soon as you are arrested for DUI manslaughter in the state of Florida. The DUI attorneys at The Law Place have helped many people just like you—good people who made a serious mistake. We understand you are anxious and concerned about your future, and we want to help you minimize the consequences of your DUI manslaughter charges.
What is DUI Manslaughter in Florida?
Florida State Statutes, Chapter 316.193 deal with DUI, and specifically DUI Manslaughter. Causing the death of another person while you are driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance can result in charges of DUI manslaughter. DUI manslaughter is considered a second-degree felony in the state of Florida. The penalties associated with a DUI manslaughter conviction include the following:
- A mandatory four-year prison sentence, with a maximum of 15 years;
- As many as fifteen years of probation;
- Fines up to $10,000;
- The permanent loss of driving privileges;
- Community service;
- Mandatory completion of a DUI substance abuse course;
- Vehicle impoundment;
- Substance abuse treatment, and
- Completion of a psychosocial evaluation.
Elements of Florida DUI Manslaughter Which Must Be Proven
In order to convict you of DUI manslaughter, the prosecution must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that (1) you were in actual physical control of the vehicle, (2) you were under the influence of alcohol or a chemical substance to the extent your “normal faculties” were impaired or had a blood alcohol level above .08%, and (3) you must have known (or you should have known) you were involved in a crash.
Potential Defenses to Florida DUI Manslaughter Charges
Of course, your defense will depend on the circumstances surrounding your charges, however your attorney may use one of the following defenses on your behalf:
- Your BAC was not above the legal level, or the evidence that you were impaired at the time of the crash can not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt;
- You were not in actual physical control of the vehicle at the time of the crash;
- You were not properly given your Miranda warnings when arrested, and therefore any statements you made thereafter can not be used as evidence;
- The police officer failed to warn you of the penalties associated with declining a chemical test;
- The chemical test was improperly administered;
- The police officer’s observations and interpretations were not accurate;
- The results of your field sobriety exercises can be questioned;
- The results of your chemical test can be questioned because the test was performed during the “absorption phase”, and
- There was no causation—the State cannot prove your actions “caused” the death of another human being.
Getting the Help You Need Following Charges of Florida DUI Manslaughter
DUI manslaughter cases in the state of Florida are extremely complex, and serious. Your DUI attorney from The Law Place will ensure all possible defenses are explored on your behalf, and, when appropriate, expert witnesses will be used. The Law Place’s DUI attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances of your accident, and, if there are mitigating factors in your case, these will be brought to the court’s and prosecutor’s attention. Don’t let uncertainty derail your future—contact The Law Place today at 941-444-4444.