Any vehicle accident or crash that involves the death of another human being is a shock to the entire community. When the crash involves an allegation that a driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, Florida law provides for incredibly harsh consequences if a conviction is obtained.
Under Florida Law, DUI manslaughter involves any person who is guilty of DUI as defined in Section 316.193(1) and who, by reason of such operation, causes or contributes to causing the death of any human being or unborn quick child. The term "unborn quick child" is a viable fetus as defined in Florida Statute Section 782.071.
Attorney for DUI Manslaughter Charges in Tampa, FL
DUI manslaughter under Florida law is a serious second-degree felony punishable by up to fifteen (15) years in Florida State prison and a $10,000 fine. Florida law also requires a minimum mandatory sentence of four-year imprisonment for any person convicted of DUI manslaughter. Sec. 316.193(3)(c)3, Florida Statutes.
If you have been arrested for DUI manslaughter in Tampa, Hillsborough County, FL, then contact an experienced attorney at the Sammis Law Firm about protecting yourself from this serious charge. Find out more defense that may apply in a DUI manslaughter case in Hillsborough County, FL.
Call 813-250-0500 today.
Hardship Driver's License after a DUI Manslaughter Conviction
In addition to the four-year minimum mandatory sentence required by Florida law, certain consequences apply to your ability to ever obtain a driver's license if you are convicted of this serious felony DUI charge. Florida Statutes Section 322.271 and 322.28 govern the "business purpose only" or "employment purpose only" hardship reinstatement after a Florida DUI manslaughter conviction.
- DUI Manslaughter Conviction with Any Prior DUI Conviction: After a conviction for DUI Manslaughter in Florida, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) is required to impose a mandatory permanent (lifetime) revocation if the driver has any prior DUI conviction.
- DUI Manslaughter Conviction with No Prior DUI Conviction: If the driver had not prior DUI related convictions, then the driver may be eligible for a hardship reinstatement after five (5) years have passed from the date of revocation and after the period of incarceration ended if the following requirements have been met:
- The driver has not been arrested for any drug-related offense for at least the five (5) years period prior to the hearing;
- The driver has not driven a motor vehicle without a license for at least the five (5) years period prior to the hearing;
- The driver has not consumed any drugs or alcohol during the five (5) year period prior to the hearing;
- The driver is required to install the ignition interlock device for a two (2) year period; and
- The driver has completed DUI school and is being supervised under the DUI program for the entire remaining period of the revocation (the failure to report for treatment or counseling will result in the immediate cancellation of the hardship driver's license).
Special defenses that may apply in felony DUI cases involving personal injury, or death, including DUI manslaughter under Florida law:
- Blood Test - Although in the past, officers could take blood by force and rely on the exigent circumstances exception to the Fourth Amendment, the law makes it clear that a warrant is almost always required if the driver does not provide free and voluntary consent;
- Crash Report Privilege -The accident report privilege under Florida law provides immunity to a person making a statement during the course of an accident or crash investigation including during a DUI manslaughter investigation in Florida;
- Roadside Agility Exercises - During a DUI investigation, the law enforcement officer may request that the driver step out of the vehicle and perform certain field sobriety exercises. If the investigation takes place after a car crash then the results may not accurate to the extend they are impacted by the driver being "shook up" or injured from the crash;
- Breath Test- If the air bags in the driver's vehicle were deployed during the accident many experts believe that this fact alone can cause the breath test machine to record a higher and inaccurate reading;
- Wheel Witness - If you exited the vehicle after the accident before the police arrived on the scene, then they will have a more difficult time proving that you were the driver, particularly if you did not make any admissions that you were driving or if those admissions are thrown out under the accident report privilege.
- Intervening Cause Defense - If the defendant's conduct did not cause or contribute to causing the death of another human being or unborn quick child, or if another unexpected cause contributed to the loss then an intervening cause defense may exist in the case.
Contact an experienced DUI defense attorney in Tampa, FL at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss any DUI manslaughter case in Tampa, Hillsborough County, FL. Call 813-250-0500 to schedule a free phone consultation to discuss the facts of your case.