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What is the Law for a DUI Manslaughter Case in Florida?

Even though Florida takes drunk driving very seriously, horrible accidents continue to occur on our state’s roads, and far too many people die. According to state statistics, Florida saw 5,223 alcohol-confirmed crashes in 2016, with 417 crashes resulting in at least one fatality. There were also 291 drug-confirmed crashes with at least one fatality.

If a loved one was killed by an intoxicated driver, you might be entitled to compensation. Read on for more information.

DUI Manslaughter Defined

Manslaughter is the unintentional and wrongful killing of another person. If the killing was intentional, then the defendant could be prosecuted for murder. But because the killing was unintentional, then the state can prosecute for manslaughter.

Under Florida statute 316.193, a person can be guilty of DUI manslaughter in two situations:

  • If alcohol or drugs impaired their normal faculties while operating a motor vehicle, or
  • If the driver’s BAC is 0.08 or higher.

As you can see, under the law, a person can be charged with DUI manslaughter even if their BAC is under 0.08 so long as the state can show that the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle was impaired at the time of the collision that resulted in death.

You should also realize that the law allows the state to prosecute for the death of an unborn fetus. If a pregnant woman dies, for example, then the defendant could face two counts of DUI manslaughter.

Penalties for DUI Manslaughter

DUI manslaughter in Florida is a felony. It can be either a first-degree or second-degree felony, depending on the circumstances:

  • If the defendant knew about the crash but failed to give aid to the victim, then it is a first-degree felony.
  • All other DUI manslaughter cases are second-degree felonies.

If convicted of a second-degree felony, a person faces 4-15 in prison, along with a $10,000 fine.

If convicted of a first-degree felony, a person faces 4-30 years in prison, along with a $10,000 fine.

Why You Need an Attorney

When a loved one is killed in a drunk driving crash, grieving family members do not need to wait for the state to bring criminal charges. Instead, they can bring a wrongful death lawsuit against an intoxicated driver and hold them legally responsible for the death. The purpose of a wrongful death suit is to compensate family members for their economic and non-economic losses.

At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, we have provided top-flight legal guidance for over 20 years in Miami. Please reach out to us today to schedule a free consultation by calling 305-371-2692.