DUI Manslaughter Issues by Fort Lauderdale DUI Lawyer
DUI can be enhanced in several ways, according to Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney William Moore. If the defendant’s blood alcohol content is measured over 0.15, the state can pursue enhancement. If convicted, the defendant will pay higher fines, be required to install an ignition interlock, and face tougher penalties that he would otherwise, including more time in jail. Where a minor is in the car, the penalties are also enhanced in the same way. Involvement in an accident, even if there were no other vehicles involved, also leads to enhancing factors. Leaving the scene after a DUI accident will usually be charged as a separate offense.
DUI causing serious bodily injury and DUI manslaughter are separate from regular DUI and are more serious. Nonetheless, a jury still has the option of convicting a person tried for DUI manslaughter or DUI causing serious bodily injury of simple DUI only, depending on the facts and particular circumstances surrounding the case before them.
What, then, constitutes DUI manslaughter? The driver must first be committing a DUI: driving while his normal faculties are too impaired to do so. This can be demonstrated through a breath or blood alcohol test at or above a 0.08. The state can also, or alternatively, use other evidence such as performance on roadside field sobriety tests, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, damaging statements, or the driver’s demeanor or state of mind.
In addition to simple DUI, however, a conviction for DUI manslaughter also requires the driver to cause or contribute to the death of another person. Usually, this occurs during a traffic accident. However, some prosecutors have been interpreting it more broadly. A Tampa man, for instance, was recently tried for DUI manslaughter after he caused an accident. His BAC was over the legal limit. A good Samaritan stopped to render aid following the accident, but was struck and killed by a third party — who was also intoxicated. The first driver, who apparently caused the accident, was charged with DUI manslaughter on the theory that he had caused or contributed to the conditions resulting in the good Samaritan’s death. The connection is fairly tenuous and the man was not convicted of DUI manslaughter after trial. The other driver, who struck the good Samaritan, took a plea agreement.