DUI Manslaughter

Palm Beach and Broward DUI Manslaughter Attorneys

The criminal offense of DUI manslaughter requires proof that a person is guilty of DUI plus proof that by the operation of a motor vehicle, the person causes or contributes to the death of another person. DUI manslaughter is a second-degree felony punishable by 15 years in Florida State Prison and a $10,000 fine. 

The most serious penalty suffered by a DUI Manslaughter conviction is a four-year mandatory minimum prison sentence, which must be served day for day.  Under almost any circumstance, the judge has little to no discretion in sentencing the defendant to prison. 

DUI manslaughter can be charged as a first degree felony if it is alleged that at the time of the crash the driver knew or should have known that the accident occurred and failed to give information and render aid as required by law (often called "hit and run"). § 316.193(3)(c)(3), Fla. Stat.

West Palm Beach DUI Manslaughter Lawyer

If you were charged with any serious felony driving offense such as DUI manslaughter in West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Pembroke Pines or anywhere in the area, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Meltzer & Bell, P.A.. We have the experience, the focus, and the passion for providing an aggressive defense to these difficult and serious charges throughout Palm Beach County or Broward County. Call (561) 557-8686 to discuss the case.

Information Center for DUI-Related Manslaughter Charges

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Causation in a DUI Manslaughter Case

Defenses in DUI Manslaughter cases often revolve around the relationship between the manner of driving and the victim's death. In these cases, a causal relationship must be proven beyond all reasonable doubt.

The prosecutor is not necessarily required, however, to prove that any mistake by the defendant in operating the vehicle or the defendant's intoxicated state caused the crash. Instead, it must be shown that the defendant's manner of operating the vehicle could have caused the accident based on the facts of the case.

Under this standard, the prosecutor will often attempt to use proof of simple negligence instead of a higher standard of reckless driving. Although it is important to note that in order to encompass vehicular homicide, the charges must also allege that the vehicle was operated in a reckless manner likely to cause the death of, or great bodily harm to, another person. Apple v. State, 746 So. 2d 1259 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 5th Dist. 2000).

Related offenses include vehicular homicide and unlawful blood alcohol level (UBAL) manslaughter, manslaughter with culpable negligence.

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The Bond Determination in DUI Manslaughter Cases

In many of these cases, the arrest for DUI manslaughter does not occur on the same night that the incident occurred. The attorney that you hire may be instrumental in helping you secure the most reasonable bond conditions after your arrest, or obtaining a bond reduction.

DUI manslaughter is one of those serious charges listed as a dangerous crime for purposes of determining pre-trial release and bond conditions. In limited circumstances, the court can deny bail altogether and order detention pending trial, but only if the court finds a substantial probability of the existence of circumstances such as protecting the community from physical harm, assuring the person's presence at trial, and insuring the integrity of the judicial process.  You are entitled to a bond under the Florida Constitution unless charged with a capital offense so hiring a lawyer immediately when under investigation for a DUI Manslaughter is extremely important.

Section 907.041(4)(c) provides that the "court may order pretrial detention if it finds a substantial probability, based on a defendant's past and present patterns of behavior….and any other relevant facts, that any of the following circumstances exists:"

The defendant is charged with DUI manslaughter, as defined by s. 316.193, and that there is a substantial probability that the defendant committed the crime and that the defendant poses a threat of harm to the community; conditions that would support a finding by the court pursuant to this subparagraph that the defendant poses a threat of harm to the community include, but are not limited to, any of the following:

  • The defendant has previously been convicted of any crime under s. 316.193, or of any crime in any other state or territory of the United States that is substantially similar to any crime under s. 316. 193;
  • The defendant was driving with a suspended driver's license when the charged crime was committed; or??
  • The defendant has previously been found guilty of, or has had adjudication of guilt withheld for, driving while the defendant's driver's license was suspended or revoked in violation of s. 322.34....

See also Preston v. Gee, 133 So. 3d 1218, 1223 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2014).

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Applying for Hardship Reinstatement after a DUI Manslaughter Conviction

One of the most serious consequences of a DUI manslaughter conviction is the permanent revocation of the driver's license. Florida law recently changed to allow a possible employment license reinstatement after five years if the period has no prior DUI related convictions. If the person has no prior DUI convictions, the person must wait at least five years from the date of the revocation to apply. At the time of the application, the person must also meet the following eligibility requirements:

  1. has not consumed alcohol or any controlled substance within the five years prior to the hearing;
  2. has not been arrested for any alcohol or drug-related offense within the five years prior to the hearing;
  3. has not driven a vehicle without a driver's license during the prior five years before the hearing;
  4. must successfully complete DUI school;
  5. must be supervised by the DUI program for the remainder of the revocation period (any failure to report for counseling or treatment will cause a cancellation of the hardship license);
  6. the ignition interlock must be installed for two years.

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Attorney for DUI Manslaughter Charges in Palm Beach County, FL

If you were arrested for any driving offense that involved the death or serious bodily injury of another person then contact the attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. to discuss the case. Many of these cases involve injuries or death to the passenger in your vehicle. Other cases involve injuries or death to the driver or passenger in another vehicle involved in the crash.

If the crash occurred in Palm Beach County, Broward County or one of the surrounding counties, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Meltzer & Bell, P.A.. Call to discuss your case today.

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