A Lake Worth Beach is facing several charges from a DUI that resulted in the death of a 39-year-old woman. According to a blood test done shortly after the accident, the man had nearly three times the legal limit of alcohol in his system (.24). According to investigators, the force of the accident was so harsh that it actually threw the victim from her vehicle even though she was wearing a seat belt. Investigators say the defendant was driving at least 90 mph at the time of the crash.
There are multiple elements in this case that bear noting. The failure of the safety belt, for one, could turn into a personal injury lawsuit. The defendant is facing charges that include DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide, and DUI causing property damage. A blood draw taken from the hospital showed that the defendant’s BAC was .346, which is actually more than four times the legal limit (not three, as stated in the article). A second sample, however, was taken and showed the defendant to have a BAC of .25.
Tallying up the charges
DUI manslaughter is a serious charge. The statute on DUI manslaughter requires minimum sentences of at least 10 years and maximum sentences of around 14 years. Judges can diverge from the standard to impose sentences as low as four years, but no lower. Vehicular homicide has a similar sentencing guideline. DUI with property damage is usually charged as a misdemeanor unless the defendant has a history of DUIs. The defendant’s sentence can go as high as 29 years if he gets the maximum or be as low as 8 years if everything goes his way. Four years would be the minimum if vehicular homicide charges are dropped.
The State of Florida makes it impossible for those who have taken a life under the influence of drugs or alcohol to escape jail time. There is simply no way around it. While the state still has to prove various elements of the case, including your intoxication level and the fact that your negligent operation of the vehicle led to the crash and death, these elements are likely to be uncontested in the case described above. A lawyer working for the defendant would build a case as to why an excessive sentence would not be appropriate in this case. Lawyers often build on the defendant’s ties to the community, their current employment, and their otherwise clean record in the hopes to show the judge that their client deserves the statutory minimum of 4 years. However, absent factors mitigating the offense, that is generally rare.
Florida punishes DUI manslaughter quite harshly. The fact is, all DUI deaths are avoidable. Here, you have a defendant who was recklessly operating their vehicle and they ended up ending someone else’s life. The family demands justice for that and so does the state. Unfortunately, this defendant will pay his debt with a long sentence.
Talk to a West Palm Beach DUI Attorney Today
The Skier Law Firm, P.A. handles DUI cases. In some cases, we can get forensic evidence tossed based on procedural failures. Call our West Palm Beach criminal defense attorneys today to schedule an appointment and learn more about how we can help.