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DUI » DUI Accidents » DUI Manslaughter

Tampa DUI Manslaughter Attorney

In the state of Florida, it is considered a crime of DUI manslaughter if you drive a vehicle while intoxicated and cause a car accident that results in the death of someone involved. This is an extremely serious crime and carries with it life-altering consequences. If you are successfully convicted, you will face penalties that can include anything from imprisonment to steep monetary fines.

Understanding the Law: What is vehicular homicide?

Vehicular homicide is defined under §782.071 of the Florida Statutes. In this section of the law, it is deemed to be the killing of another person (including a viable fetus), by the operator of a motor vehicle. This means that should an allegedly drunk driver cause a car accident during which a pregnant woman suffers injury and loses her child, it could be determined to be vehicular homicide. The law defines a viable fetus at the point where it would become capable of life outside of the womb.

While the criminal penalties for this action are defined below, it is also important to keep in mind that the law gives the court the ability to order the defendant to serving community service hours in a local trauma center or hospital. This is used to give care and treatment to car accident victims, under approved supervision, and is meant to have a purpose extended beyond the traditional penalties for drunk driving.

Penalties of Vehicular Manslaughter

In most cases, a DUI is considered to be a misdemeanor. This, however, is not always the case. For defendants who have been arrested for drunk driving and who have been accused of causing a fatal car crash, the charges can be severely elevated. In the state of Florida, this is technically known as DUI manslaughter, which is also referred to as vehicular homicide. Under Florida Statutes, there are two different versions which may be levied against the defendant, depending on the circumstances:

  • Vehicular Homicide– This is considered to be a second degree felony and is punishable by up to $10,000 in fines and / or 15 years of imprisonment.
  • Vehicular Homicide (Leaving the Scene) – This is elevated to a first degree felony if the defendant knew an accident occurred and did not exchange information or render aid. Penalties still include a $10,000 fine, but the imprisonment sentence is lengthened to be up to 30 years.

Beyond imprisonment and fines, however, there are additional penalties that can be held against the defendant. This includes mandatory permanent license revocation (the defendant may become eligible for a hardship license after five years). They may also be required to complete DUI school before becoming qualified to have a hardship reinstatement. Due to the severity of the potential penalties, you cannot treat something of this nature lightly. If you have been accused, you need to contact an aggressive Tampa DUI lawyer today.

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