Are You in Need of a Weston DUI Lawyer?
DUI manslaughter is a very serious criminal offense in Florida. People who are convicted of this offense can face sentences to years in prison and substantial fines. If you are charged with DUI manslaughter, you should talk to a Weston criminal defense lawyer at Hassett & Associates as soon as possible to learn about the potential defenses that might be available. Recently, a young man was arrested and charged with DUI manslaughter for a crash in which a bicyclist was killed.
Fatal Bicycle Accident Leads to DUI Manslaughter Charges
On Sept. 4, 2021, a 21-year-old Hollywood, Florida man was driving east on West State Road 84 in Weston at 10:35 am in a 2014 Hyundai Sonata. He collided with a bicyclist who was also traveling east. Investigators with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office found that the man drove off of the road several times into a gravel construction area before colliding with a construction barrier. His vehicle then came back onto the road and collided with the bicyclist. The Sheriff’s Office reports that the motorist initially stopped but then drove east for a short time before he returned to the accident scene. Deputies also found Xanax in his possession.
The bicyclist was transported to Broward Medical Center and received treatment for his injuries. However, he died on Oct. 27, 2021. The motorist was taken into custody in Dec. 2021 and charged with DUI manslaughter, a DUI crash involving property damage, and possession of Xanax.
DUI Manslaughter Charges in Florida
Under § 316.193(1)(a) and (3)(c)(3), Fla. Stat. (2021), you can be charged with DUI manslaughter if you drive or are in actual physical control of a vehicle in Florida while you are under the influence of alcohol or any other impairing chemical substance and cause an accident in which someone is killed. This offense is a second-degree felony that carries severe potential penalties, including from four to 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $15,000, and up to 15 years of probation.
DUI manslaughter can be charged when a person is impaired by alcohol or drugs and causes a fatal accident. However, the prosecuting attorney will still be required to prove the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt before a person can be convicted of the offense. The prosecutor must prove that the defendant was in actual physical control of or drove a vehicle while he or she was under the influence of a controlled substance, chemical substance, or alcohol and that his or her driving abilities were impaired by the substance and caused the crash and the victim’s death.
In the 21-year-old motorist’s case, the prosecutor would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the young man had enough Xanax in his system at the time of the accident that his or her normal driving abilities were impaired. A defense attorney might investigate the level of alprazolam in the young man’s system, whether he had a valid prescription for the medication, and whether something else might have caused him to lose control of his vehicle. A defense lawyer might work with an expert to help defend against the charges.
Speak to a Weston DUI Lawyer
While all DUIs are treated seriously in Florida, those involving fatalities can result in severe penalties. Attorney Kenneth P. Hassett has defended people against serious criminal charges for decades and understands how to build strong defenses based on the evidence in a given case. If you or someone you know have been in a similar legal situation, contact Hassett & Associates, P.A. at 954-791-3939.