A DUI charge in Okaloosa County can be unsettling. The prospect of hefty fines and administrative costs – not to mention jail sentences and/or community service requirements – makes even a first-time DUI offense a serious matter. But the penalties for even a third or fourth conviction for DUI in Florida pale in comparison to the consequences that await drunk or impaired drivers who kill someone in a DUI crash. A conviction for DUI manslaughter carries with it mandatory prison sentences that can range from a minimum of four years and are imposed in addition to heavy fines and a lifetime driver’s license revocation.
What exactly constitutes the crime of DUI manslaughter, and what – if anything – can a criminal defense attorney do for you if you find yourself charged with this offense?
What Constitutes DUI Manslaughter in Florida?
As the name implies, DUI manslaughter involves the unintentional taking of a human life by means of a vehicle that the defendant is operating while he or she is under the influence of alcohol. A person can be considered “under the influence” when his or her breath- or blood-alcohol concentration is greater than 0.08 or if the person’s “normal faculties” – that is, his or her normal capabilities and functioning – is impaired by alcohol or drugs. A DUI manslaughter conviction can be entered against you even if you did not intend to kill the victim or even see the victim at the time of the crash. Enhanced penalties apply if the DUI driver does not stop and render aid to the victim at the time of the crash.
What Sentence Will Be Imposed for My DUI Manslaughter Conviction?
If you are convicted of DUI manslaughter in Okaloosa County, you can expect to receive a minimum sentence of four years in prison. If more than one person is killed in the DUI crash, then the DUI driver can be charged with multiple counts of DUI manslaughter. Each count that the DUI driver is convicted of can result in its own four-year minimum sentence.
For example, a DUI driver who hits a car carrying two individuals and who kills both occupants of the other car can be charged with two counts of DUI manslaughter. If convicted of both counts, the DUI driver could face a minimum sentence of four years’ imprisonment for each count. These sentences can be ordered to run concurrent with one another (for a minimum sentence of four years’ imprisonment) or consecutive to one another (for a minimum sentence of eight years’ imprisonment).
Can I Receive a Harsher Sentence Than the Minimum?
The precise sentence you will receive for your DUI manslaughter conviction will depend on a number of factors such as:
- The number of individuals you killed;
- Whether you stopped at the scene of the accident and attempted to render aid;
- The strength of the evidence against you;
- The wishes of the victims’ families;
- The degree of remorse you express; and/or
- Other relevant factors considered by the prosecutor and/or judge.
You Need the Help of an Experienced Fort Walton Beach DUI Manslaughter Attorney
When you are charged with DUI manslaughter in Florida, you need aggressive and talented legal representation from Fort Walton Beach criminal defense attorney Stephen G. Cobb. The severity of the sentence you receive – or whether you are convicted of DUI manslaughter at all – can depend heavily on the quality of representation you receive. Florida Criminal Trial Law Specialist attorney Stephen G. Cobb will ensure the prosecution’s evidence is analyzed and tested and that the prosecution is held to its burden f proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Where a conviction for DUI manslaughter is unavoidable, he will aggressively and persuasively present facts favorable to you that can help you receive as light a sentence as possible. Contact the Fort Walton Beach criminal defense law office of Stephen G. Cobb at (850) 669-5882 today.
Cobb Criminal Defense Law Firm
1992 Lewis Turner Blvd, Suite 101-B
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547
For more information, please visit: https://cobblawfirm.com/dui/