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The Serious Consequences of a DUI-Manslaughter Conviction in Florida

A recent Florida DUI case exemplifies the potential consequences of a DUI-related death. A 2010 automobile accident has resulted in the conviction of a 59-year-old Florida man. According to a report in the Tampa Bay Times, the accident occurred on December 10, 2010, when the defendant was traveling north on US-19. His car reportedly collided with a 72-year-old Hudson woman, causing her to lose control of her vehicle. The victim’s car spun into the southbound lanes of oncoming traffic and hit a third vehicle. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Court documents state that the defendant’s blood alcohol level (BAL) was 0.10.

The defendant was arrested and charged with multiple DUI charges, including driving under the influence-causing injuries and driving under the influence-manslaughter. After two hours of deliberation, the jury in his trial returned with a guilty verdict on the manslaughter charge. The sentencing will not occur until July 25, but he is facing a maximum of 15 years incarceration, with a mandatory minimum sentence of four years.

Florida DUI Laws

In the state of Florida, the illegal BAL level is 0.08 or higher. For commercial drivers, a 0.04 BAC reading is considered unlawful. If you are involved in an automobile accident, an officer may ask you to take a sobriety test, to measure the amount of alcohol in your body. Florida licensed drivers can face penalties for refusing to take the requested test. This is due to the implied consent doctrine, which says that Florida drivers automatically consent to sobriety testing when they sign for their driver’s licenses. Refusal to take the test can result in the suspension of your license for 6 to 18 months, depending on previous offenses. If the officer determines that your BAL is above the allowed limit, you will be arrested on DUI charges.

DUI-manslaughter and vehicular manslaughter are second degree felonies. A conviction can result in a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Your license will also be permanently revoked. If it is your first DUI related offense, you may apply for a license reinstatement after five years. Finding yourself in the middle of an alcohol related accident can be a scary experience, but always remain at the accident location until the police arrive. The possible punishments are considerably greater if you are also charged with leaving the scene, in addition to a DUI or DUI-manslaughter.

A DUI-manslaughter conviction can have a devastating effect on your life, as well as the lives of your loved ones. In addition to the possibility of incarceration, your driving privileges, your livelihood and your reputation are also at stake. Even one DUI conviction can start you down an inconvenient and embarrassing road. For these reasons, it is imperative to secure the services of a knowledgeable attorney immediately following any DUI arrest.

If you or a loved one is facing DUI charges, Miami attorneys Mycki Ratzan and Jude Faccidomo can provide you with an aggressive and comprehensive defense. Contact Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC today at 305-600-3519 for a confidential and free consultation.

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