DUI Manslaughter Sentence in Florida

DUI Manslaughter Sentence in Florida

Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, or other substances, is treated as a serious crime, because it increases the risk of serious injury — and even death. When this occurs, the impaired driver is often charged with DUI manslaughter, an offense that comes with severe consequences and penalties.

It is critical for anyone facing this charge to understand their legal options and know that they still have rights under the law. Working with a knowledgeable and hard-working defense attorney can help ensure that you are being treated fairly, and that law enforcement and prosecutors conduct an investigation within their legal limits.

This guide will give you a better understanding of DUI manslaughter, potential penalties, including the minimum sentence if convicted, and how a DUI defense lawyer can help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

What Is DUI Manslaughter?

DUI manslaughter is a term combining two separate offenses under Florida law — DUI and vehicular manslaughter. The legal limit for driving under the influence of alcohol is a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. At this point, a person is considered too impaired to safely operate a vehicle. While a DUI is a misdemeanor, it still comes with serious penalties, including fines, license suspension, and the potential for jail time.

Manslaughter describes when someone’s actions contribute to the death of another without any malice or intention, so it is viewed under the law as less culpable than murder. Vehicular manslaughter means reckless or irresponsible driving contributed to the death of a person in an automobile collision. DUI manslaughter means the person responsible for reckless driving, that resulted in the death of another person, was also under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

How Serious Is DUI Manslaughter?

DUI manslaughter is a serious crime that is classified as at least a second degree felony under Florida Statute 316.193. Because the death of a person is essentially the worst-case scenario a DUI can result in, the penalties are severe, in order to deter people from taking the risk. DUI manslaughter can also result in a first degree felony, with even more serious consequences, if it can be proven that the driver did not notify authorities, provided false information, or did not attempt to give reasonable aid to the victim.

What is the Minimum Sentence for DUI Manslaughter in Florida?

In Florida, there is a mandatory minimum sentence of four years for a DUI manslaughter conviction. As the minimum sentence, this usually occurs in circumstances where the judge has a more favorable ruling. The recommended minimum sentence in most cases is 10 years.

Other Penalties and Sentences for DUI Manslaughter

The penalties and sentences for more serious DUI manslaughter convictions can include:

  • Up to 15 years in prison for second degree DUI manslaughter
  • Up to 30 years in prison for first degree DUI manslaughter
  • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • Driver’s license revocation
  • Vehicle impoundment
  • Community service
  • Mandatory substance abuse counseling

Additionally, DUI manslaughter charges can result in court fees, increased car insurance rates, and reduced employment prospects.

When is DUI Manslaughter Prosecuted?

Along with the harsh penalties involved with a DUI, prosecutors also have lower standards of proof needed to convict compared to other forms of vehicular manslaughter. Prosecutors basically just need to prove that a person was above the legal limit for a DUI and operating the vehicle that resulted in death. This means it is common for prosecutors to pursue a DUI manslaughter conviction in a large number of cases.

There can still be some mitigating circumstances around a DUI manslaughter case that can lead to a reduced sentence, reduced charge, or even dropping of charges. This can include lack of witnesses to prove control of the vehicle, conflicting testimony, law enforcement not following proper procedures in the investigation, and improperly administering field sobriety tests.

How a Defense Lawyer Can Help

Working with a qualified and experienced defense attorney can help ensure you receive a fair ruling for a DUI manslaughter charge. A lawyer will conduct a full investigation into the facts of the case, the conduct of law enforcement, witness testimony, and BAC testing equipment to determine if there are any mitigating circumstances.

Call Clark Hartpence Law If You Need a DUI Manslaughter Defense Lawyer in Florida

If you or someone you love is facing serious charges, including DUI manslaughter, call us at (855) 680-4911 or schedule a free consultation. Attorney Jeremy Clark was a public defender in the Sixth Judicial Circuit and has an extensive understanding of the laws and penalties around DUI charges and trials. With his and our entire team’s dedicated experience, we know how to build cases to respond to arguments the state of Florida commonly uses in DUI cases.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.