Florida DUI Manslaughter Lawyer
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the offense, DUI manslaughter is taken very seriously in Florida. It is filed as a felony and can result in harsh consequences, such as huge fines and decades spent in prison. If you have been charged with this crime, you are likely worried about having to face these consequences. Florida DUI manslaughter lawyer Erika Valcarcel understands the damage this charge can create and will work tirelessly to ensure you receive the best possible result under the law, whether it involves pointing out rights violations or conducting an independent investigation.
Defining DUI Manslaughter
According to Florida Statute Section 316.193, DUI manslaughter in Florida is defined as the killing of another person while operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In order to reach a conviction, the prosecution must establish the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The perpetrator was operating a vehicle, or was found to be in actual physical control of the vehicle, in the state of Florida;
- The perpetrator was under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, had a breath-alcohol level of .08% or higher, or had a blood-alcohol level of .08% or higher; and
- Another person was killed either directly or indirectly as a result.
In this definition, the actual physical control means that the operator was in the vehicle and had the ability to operate it, even if the vehicle was not being operated at the time of the incident. This control requirement applies to a number of vehicles, including cars, motorcycles, dirt bikes, all-terrain vehicles, golf carts, and even bicycles.
Criminal and Collateral Consequences
DUI manslaughter is always filed as a second-degree felony. As such, the penalties faced by a guilty party are severe. If convicted, a person will face the mandatory minimum sentence of 124.5 months in state prison. The penalties normally go beyond the minimum requirement, though, and include, but are not limited to:
- Up to 15 years in state prison
- Fines of up to $10,000
- Permanent driver’s license revocation
- Impoundment of the driver’s vehicle
This type of crime can follow you forever, even after you have repaid your debt to society. It may be difficult to find work after you are released from prison. Few employers jump at the chance to hire someone with a criminal record. Your attempts to continue your education might also be stifled, as many colleges and universities look into applicants’ pasts. What’s more, scholarships and other forms of financial aid are off-limits to those with conviction histories.
Defending Your Freedom
When facing DUI manslaughter charges in Florida, there are a number of defenses that can be used to get your charges reduced or dismissed.
One of the most effective techniques is proving that the field sobriety tests were conducted improperly. Maybe you have a physical condition that made the tasks difficult to complete, or perhaps the officer was not qualified to conduct a field sobriety test. Another effective technique is proving that your blood or breath alcohol results are inaccurate or were obtained unlawfully. It might be the case that the breathalyzer test results are inadmissible as evidence. While it is unlikely for these machines to malfunction, the test might not have been carried out according to protocol.
It is also likely that your blood was taken as part of the DUI manslaughter investigation and that the State will try to use your blood alcohol level to convict you. Many errors can occur in this process, from using expired blood kits to improper testing of the blood itself. Any small deviation in the protocol can render your results inaccurate and inadmissible.
How a Compassionate Florida DUI Manslaughter Lawyer from Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. Can Help You
If you or a loved one is facing a DUI manslaughter charge, contact Florida DUI manslaughter lawyer Erika Valcarcel immediately. With time spent as both a prosecutor and a defender, attorney Valcarcel can anticipate the prosecution’s strategy in order to craft an effective defense. She believes that wiping out your charges depends on how the facts are presented.
Call(941) 363-7900 now for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case.