DUI Manslaughter and Vehicular Homicide in Florida

May 4, 2020 Drunk Driving/DUI

dui manslaughter vs vehicular homicide

What is the difference between DUI Manslaughter and Vehicular Homicide in Florida?

Vehicular Homicide and DUI Manslaughter are serious offenses in the state of Florida. A Florida Vehicular Homicide attorney can help navigate a case where either of these charges have been filed. On the surface, these charges appear to be nearly identical, with one just adding an intoxicated driver, but the comparison is a bit more nuanced than that. With thousands of Floridians dying each year in traffic collisions, these charges unfortunately come up far too often.

Florida DUI Manslaughter

DUI Manslaughter is charged under the standard DUI statute, specifically, Florida Statutes 316.193 (3)(c)3. When a person operates a vehicle while intoxicated to the level of a DUI and causes death to another person or an unborn baby, the behavior results in a DUI Manslaughter charge. DUI Manslaughter in Florida amounts to a second-degree felony in most circumstance, which carries up to 15 years in prison. If the offender does not give aid and information, as is required upon a collision by statute, the charge becomes a first-degree felony. A first-degree felony in the state of Florida carries up to 30 years in prison. Serious bodily injury, as opposed to death, is punishable as a third-degree felony and up to 5 years in prison. The primary distinction of this offense is that that the driver must be intoxicated, satisfying the other elements of driving under the influence. If charged with this offense it is crucial to reach out to a qualified and experienced Florida DUI Manslaughter lawyer as soon as possible.

Possible Defenses to DUI Manslaughter

The most common defense to DUI Manslaughter is to attack the intoxication element. Breathalyzers often have reliability issues, and it is common during a serious accident that the driver is rushed to the hospital. Sometimes an accidental mix of medications, or lack of sleep can make a person seem intoxicated when they really are not. If an accident is serious enough it can also be difficult to ascertain who was driving a vehicle, and that can create another possible defense. It is important to hire an experienced DUI Manslaughter attorney if charged with this offense, that will give you the best opportunity to protect your rights and potentially even get the case dismissed.

Vehicular Homicide in Florida

Vehicular Homicide is a different type of offense, it arises when a person operates a vehicle recklessly and that behavior leads to the death of another, according to Florida Statutes § 782.071. This charge carries the same penalties as DUI Manslaughter, starting out as a second-degree felony normally, but rising to a first-degree felony if aid is not rendered at the scene. Vehicular Homicide does not require intoxication but does add the element that a driver must be operating a vehicle recklessly, an element that is not found in DUI Manslaughter.

Possible Defenses to Vehicular Homicide

The strongest defense is often to argue that behavior did not rise to recklessness. Recklessness has a legal definition, but it often ends up being a subjective analysis by the jury. This can create novel arguments that are unique in each individual case. This is why it’s important to seek a Florida Vehicular Homicide attorney who has handled a wide array of cases, and can bring that breadth of experience to the facts unique to you.

DUI Lawyer Near Me

Don Pumphrey and the firm have years of experience representing defendants in traffic offenses such as DUI Manslaughter and Vehicular Homicide.  They are dedicated to defending the rights of clients and will fight for the best possible disposition or dismissal of your case. Call (850) 681-7777 or send an online message today to discuss your rights during an open and free consultation with a DUI Manslaughter or Vehicular Homicide attorney in our legal team.