What is DUI Manslaughter in Florida?
Recently, a man by the name of Joseph Aridio Garcia, was charged with DUI manslaughter after striking a pedestrian with his pickup truck and fleeing the scene. The pedestrian died shortly afterwards. Garcia stated that he thought he had hit an object in the road and after seeing the severe damage to his vehicle when he got home, he returned to the scene. There, investigators smelled alcohol on his breath and after administering a chemical test, it was found that Garcia’s blood alcohol content was 0.14 percent, which is well above the legal limit of 0.08 percent.
The story is an interesting one, as it highlights the serious nature of certain DUI charges. DUI manslaughter is one of the most serious, as it involves the death of another person.
DUI Manslaughter Defined
DUI manslaughter is defined in the Florida Statutes as when a person drives or has actual physical control over a vehicle while they have a blood alcohol concentration higher than the legal limit of 0.08 percent. For manslaughter charges to also apply, a drunk driver must also either directly or indirectly cause the death of another person. Actual physical control means that a person occupies the vehicle and is capable of operating it, even if they are not actually operating it at the time.
Penalties for DUI Manslaughter
The penalties associated with a DUI charge are always serious but due to the nature of DUI manslaughter charges, the consequences are much more serious. A conviction for DUI manslaughter is punishable by:
- A maximum 15 years in prison
- A maximum 15 years of probation
- A maximum $10,000 fine
- Permanent revocation of an individual’s driver’s license
- Impoundment of the vehicle
- Community service
- Completion of a DUI substance abuse course
The minimum mandatory prison sentence for a DUI manslaughter is ten years. However, a judge may impose a downward departure, or a lesser sentence, if there are mitigating circumstances involved. Still, a judge cannot sentence a person to fewer than four years in prison for a DUI manslaughter conviction.
Defenses to DUI Manslaughter
Being charged with DUI manslaughter is very scary, but that does not mean the situation is hopeless. There are defenses to these charges and they include:
- Showing the traffic stop was illegal
- Establishing that field sobriety tests were not administered or analyzed properly
- Proving law enforcement did not have probable cause to stop the vehicle
- Showing breath tests or other chemical tests were not administered properly
An Orlando criminal defense lawyer can advise on the facts of a case and determine which defense is most appropriate.
Call Our Criminal Defense Lawyer in Orlando Today
If you have been charged with DUI manslaughter, or any other kind of drunk driving offense, our Orlando criminal defense lawyer at O’Mara Law Group can advise on the proper course of action that will help you beat the charges. Call us today at 407-634-6604 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation with our skilled attorney and to learn more about how we can help.