Driving under the influence is still one of the most common criminal offenses charged in the State of Florida. Even with the prevalence of ride sharing services like Uber or Lyft, Florida seems to still be a hotbed for DUI charges. There are several potential explanations for this. Even with ride sharing, alcohol acts as a motor function and cognitive inhibitor. This means that both physical and mental abilities are compromised by alcohol and drug intoxication. Put simply, people do not make the best decisions when under the influence. Florida is also a State that exploded in population just as the automobile was becoming the primary mode of transportation for most Americans. Unfortunately our cities and towns were designed with cars in mind instead of reliable and accessible public transportation. Sarasota is no exception to this.
A regular DUI arrest is not the end of the world. While you may incur some hardships and be required to complete several classes and probation, most people convicted of a first time DUI avoid any truly significant penalties and incarceration. The exception to this is when an enhancement is applied to the DUI. DUI charges can be enhanced in numerous ways. If you provide a breath sample over 0.15, additional penalties can be applied. If you have prior DUI convictions, the offense can be enhanced depending on the number of prior convictions. If there is property damage resulting from your DUI, you may be exposed to additional sanctions and restitution. If you have been charged with any type of DUI, you should not hesitate to contact a skilled Sarasota DUI defense lawyer to help build your case.DUI Homicide Elements
Of all the DUI enhancements, there are none more serious than DUI manslaughter. As an enhancement to the base offense of DUI, DUI manslaughter contains many of the same elements. To prove a DUI manslaughter, the prosecution must prove that the defendant was driving a vehicle and, while driving was under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance to the point his or her normal faculties were impaired. In order to prove the DUI manslaughter enhancement, the state must also prove that as a result of the impaired driving, the defendant caused a crash that resulted in the death of another person.
There are several defenses that an experienced Sarasota DUI defense lawyer can raise to protect you from the serious penalties involved with a DUI manslaughter charge. First, a defense can sometimes be raised challenging the defendant’s intoxication. Police and prosecutors are sometimes quick to jump to the conclusion that a driver is under the influence when a crash happens involving a death, so an attentive lawyer may be able to uncover inconsistencies and issues with the investigation. Second, even if the defendant was under the influence, a defense can be raised about causation of the crash. In order to prove DUI manslaughter, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant caused or contributed to the crash. The simple fact that a defendant was under the influence does not automatically mean that he or she caused the crash. If your lawyer can present evidence that the victim or someone else caused the accident, you could be facing significantly more lenient penalties.Penalties
DUI manslaughter is a second degree felony which means that if you are convicted, you could be facing up to 15 years in prison. There are minimum mandatory prison sentences involved with DUI manslaughter as well. If there is proof that the defendant in a DUI manslaughter case also left the scene of the accident without trying to render aid to the victim, the offense is upgraded to a first degree felony punishable by up to thirty years in prison.Speak to Our Lawyers Today
The attorneys at Hanlon Law are here to develop the best defense for your specific case. If you have pending DUI charges, don’t hesitate to contact us today at 941.462.1789.