DUI with Property Damage
Even if your case did not involve any kind of personal injury, the prosecutor will look very closely at any DUI case that involves a crash with property damage. In fact, Florida law imposes enhanced penalties for charges of DUI with either property damage or non-serious bodily injury.
Under Florida law, any DUI with property damage or non-serious personal injury under Florida Statute Section 316.193(3)(c)1 is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to (12) twelve months in jail and a $1,000 fine. For a DUI without this enhancement, the maximum penalty includes six (6) months and a $500 fine.
Prosecutors aggressively prosecuted these cases in Tampa and throughout Hillsborough County, FL. Unfortunately, if your DUI case involves a crash with property damage, then you will NOT be eligible for Hillsborough County's new diversion program called RIDR, even if you have no prior criminal record.
The goal in these cases is avoiding a DUI conviction by getting the prosecutor to drop the charges, getting the court to dismiss the charges, or getting the charges reduced to a less serious offense such as reckless driving.
Click here to read more about our Recent Case Results in DUI with Property Damage Cases.
Attorneys for DUI with Property Damage in Tampa, FL
If you have been arrested for DUI with Property Damage under Florida Statute Section 316.193(3)(c)1, in Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida, then contact an experienced DUI attorney at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss fighting this very serious criminal charge.
Our main office is located in downtown Tampa in Hillsborough County, FL. We also have a second office in New Port Richey in Pasco County, FL.
These cases are unique because officers often have no way of knowing whether they "impairment" they observed was from an injury suffered during the crash or from the consumption of drugs or alcohol. Other defenses are unique to these cases, including the accident report privilege.
We welcome your calls to discuss your case. Call 813-250-0500 to speak directly with an attorney at the firm about the unique facts of your case.
Elements of Property Damage DUI in Fla. Stat. § 316.193(3)
The elements of property damage DUI can be found at Fla. Stat. § 316.193(3). Those elements of proving a DUI with enhanced penalties for property damage requires proof beyond all reasonable doubt of the following:
- the Defendant operated a vehicle, was driving a vehicle, or was in actual physical control of a vehicle;
- the Defendant caused or contributed to causing damage to the property of another person or injury to another person;
- the Defendant was under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, chemical substance or controlled substance to the extent his or her normal facilities were impaired;
- the Defendant had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams or more of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood at the time of driving; or
- the Defendant had a breath alcohol level of .08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath at the time of driving.
The penalties are even harsher if anyone was seriously injured or died in the crash. DUI with serious bodily injury is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five (5) years in Florida State Prison. DUI manslaughter is a second-degree felony punishable by up to fifteen (15) years in prison.
Defenses in DUI Property Damage Cases in Tampa, FL
Despite the seriousness of the accusation, in DUI cases with Property Damage under Section 316.193(3)(c)1, F.S., certain types of unique defense are more likely to be available, including:
- 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 with property damage investigation in Florida.
- Roadside Agility Exercises - During a DUI investigation, the law enforcement officer may request that the driver get out of the vehicle and perform certain field sobriety exercises. If the investigation takes place after a car crash with property damage then the results may not accurate to the extent they are impacted by the driver being "shook up" or injured from the crash.
- Breath Test- If the airbags 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; and
- Wheel Witness - If the driver exited the vehicle after the accident but before the police arrived on the scene, then the prosecutor may have a more difficult time proving who actually drove the vehicle at the time of the accident, particularly if the driver did not make any admissions that he was driving or if those admissions are excluded under the crash report privilege.
- Intervening Cause Defense - If the defendant's conduct did not cause or contribute to the property damage, or if another unexpected cause contributed to the damage then an intervening cause defense may exist in the case.
The Uniform Traffic Citation for a DUI with Property Damage
In some cases, the arresting officer will issue an additional DUI charge on a regular Uniform Traffic Citation (UTC) for DUI with property damage or personal injury. If more than one set of property damage or personal injury resulted from the crash, then multiple charges for DUI with property damage or personal injury can be issued.
Look carefully at your uniform traffic citation to see if an "X" has been added in the "Crash Case." When an "X" is added to this box it indicates that the citation is being issued as a result of a crash investigation.
The arresting officer might also add an "X" to the section for "Property Damage" along with the total dollar amount of ALL property damage including damage to all motor vehicles as well as other property damage. The officer will also indicate on the citation whether the crash resulted in "Injury to Another" or "Serious Bodily Injury to Another."
The UTC also has a box for "Fatal" is there were one or more fatalities that resulted from the crash.
Finding a Lawyer for a DUI with Property Damage in Hillsborough County, FL
If you have been arrested in Tampa or Hillsborough County, FL, for DUI with personal injury or property damage under Florida Statute Section 316.193(3), then contact an experienced attorney to discuss ways to fight this serious charge.
We fight DUI cases involving a breath test, blood test, urine test, or refusal to submit to testing. Whether this is your first DUI or a second or subsequent arrest, we can help.
We are familiar with the standard operating procedures used in DUI crash cases after an arrest by an officer with the Florida Highway Patrol, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, the Tampa Police Department, or other local law enforcement agencies.
With offices in downtown Tampa in Hillsborough County and New Port Richey in Pasco County, FL, our DUI defense attorneys represent clients throughout the greater Tampa Bay area.
Whether the DUI with property damage charge is your first offense or a second or subsequent arrest, we can help. Call 813-250-0500 to discuss the circumstances of your DUI case today.
This article was last updated on Monday, August 20, 2018.