A Boynton Beach man who was charged with killing a Broward County Deputy is petitioning the court to allow him to be released while he’s awaiting trial. His attorneys contend that the man is unsafe in jail while the coronavirus spike is continuing.
Prosecutors want the defendant, Darran Johnson, held without bail. They say that Johnson has a history of traffic violations and is addicted to alcohol. That makes him a threat to the greater community.
Currently, Broward County’s prisons have a total of just over 1,500 prisoners and about 40 of those have tested positive for the coronavirus. However, 39 of those 40 prisoners are all being housed at Belle Glade which is nearby West Palm Beach. The jail holds around 400 inmates, so one in every ten of them has contracted the coronavirus. So far, there are only four hospitalizations. There have been no deaths.
DUI Manslaughter in Florida
DUI manslaughter is a serious crime. The mandatory minimum sentence is just over ten years, but the judge is allowed some discretion in sentencing. If there are enough mitigating circumstances present, the judge can order a reduced sentence of no less than four years. The maximum sentence for a DUI manslaughter charge is 15 years. He is facing one count of vehicular homicide, two counts of DUI manslaughter, DUI with property damage, driving on a suspended license (2nd offense), speeding, and running two red lights.
Johnson has spent the last 11 months in jail. In September, he was released from jail after posting $100,000 bond. One of the conditions of his release, however, was that he was not allowed to drink any alcohol. According to police, the device he was wearing detected alcohol in his system. His lawyer maintains that the device malfunctioned or was defective. Since then, his attorneys have filed numerous motions to either have his bail reduced or allow him to remain under house arrest while his case was pending. Each time, their motion has been denied.
Defenses to DUI Manslaughter
Generally speaking, police use chemical testing to ensure a conviction on a DUI charge, but just how scientific are those tests? With the notable exception of blood tests, the tests used to determine blood alcohol content are not very precise at all. Breathalyzer tests test the breath, not the blood, so an equation must be used to translate breath alcohol into blood alcohol. Even if we believe the equation is accurate, a 300-pound man would have a very different reaction to five alcoholic beverages than a 100-pound woman.
Attacking the science behind the tox screens becomes one of the best ways defense attorneys have to defend their clients. But in cases where there’s a fatal accident, the defendants are usually taken to the hospital where their blood is tested. This evidence is much more difficult to refute.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’ve been accused of DUI or any related crime, call the West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at The Skier Law Firm, P.A. to learn more about how we can help.