DUI Manslaughter Charges After 5-Year-Old Dies in Crash
November 11, 2022 Don Pumphrey, Jr. Criminal Defense, Drunk Driving/DUI Social Share
Getting arrested for a DUI has harsh consequences, especially if the other parties involved in the crash become injured or killed. Florida prosecutors take DUI charges extremely seriously and a DUI conviction can seriously impact the rest of your life.
A recent case in Florida details how quickly a DUI charge can go from bad to worse when the victims die from the wreck. We will provide details from the case, along with information on DUIs with serious bodily injury and DUI manslaughter.
Defining Serious Bodily Injury
The term “serious bodily injury” is defined under Florida Statute section 316.1933(1)(b) as when an injury occurs to any person—including the driver—which has the physical condition that:
- Causes a substantial risk of death;
- Causes a substantial risk of personal disfigurement; or
- Causes a substantial risk of protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.
Driving under the influence (DUI) charges in Florida can carry harsh consequences. According to Florida Statute section 316.193, a person is guilty of a DUI if they are in actual or constructive control of a vehicle. If the accused person is under the influence of alcohol above the state’s legal limit of 0.08 grams or more, they may be charged with a DUI.
If the alleged DUI is the accused person’s first offense, then they can be fined between $500 and $1,000 and face up to 6 months in prison. For a second DUI offense, the defendant can be fined between $1,000 and $2,000 and face up to 9 months in prison.
Florida law has created enhancements to a DUI charge in more severe circumstances. For instance, if the DUI results in the serious bodily injury of another person, then the defendant can be charged with a third-degree felony in Florida. A third-degree felony has a penalty of up to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.
If someone driving under the influence ends up killing another person—regardless of the intent—they can be charged with DUI manslaughter. Under Florida Statute section 316.193(3)(c), the death of another person or an unborn child during a crash involving someone under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances can result in a second-degree felony. A second-degree felony has a penalty of up to a $10,000 fine and up to fifteen years in prison.
The DUI charges can be enhanced further if the driver does not stop or offer to help aid after the wreck. Often referred to as “fleeing the scene,” violating Florida law by not offering aid after a DUI crash can result in a first-degree felony charge. A first-degree felony has a penalty of up to a $10,000 fine and up to 30 years in prison.
To find out more about DUI manslaughter and its possible defenses, read our informative page here.
What was the Case?
On October 29th, 2022, Daksh Wadhwa was arrested after a car accident that occurred in Tavares around 8:30 am. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Wadhwa was heading west on County Road 448 when he veered into the lane heading eastbound.
A 29-year-old woman was driving eastbound at the same time, with her 5-year-old son in the back seat. When Wadhwa swerved into the opposite lane, both drivers swerved to try and avoid crashing. However, the defendant’s BMW hit the right side of the woman’s Honda.
The woman was taken to ORMC for serious injuries, and her son was airlifted to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children due to his critical condition. The 5-year-old boy died on Sunday in the hospital.
Wadhwa, 30, was originally arrested and charged with DUI with serious bodily injuries. He was originally given a $3,000 bond and let out of jail.
However, after the injuries resulted in the young boy’s death, he was hit with an additional charge of DUI manslaughter. Lake County troopers stated that Wadhwa remained at the scene following the accident, where he blew a breath sample of 0.189. The legal limit in Florida is 0.08.
Wadhwa turned himself in to authorities on Wednesday for the upgraded DUI manslaughter charge. The suspect was also charged with possession of cocaine and bringing contraband into the jail. According to FOX 35, Wadhwa had multiple speeding tickets and a careless driving conviction on his record.
“I really want everyone to advocate to their friends and family not to drink and drive. It’s not fair. Just one stupid decision can ruin an entire family. It’s not worth it, I promise,” said the young boy’s mother after his death.
Finding a DUI Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida
A DUI conviction has the potential to impact the rest of your life. Expensive fines, losing your driver’s license, and possible imprisonment are all potential outcomes of a DUI charge. Your best shot at protecting your freedom is by working with a skilled DUI defense attorney.
Don Pumphrey and his team at Pumphrey Law Firm have years of experience working on DUI cases across Florida. Contact us today for a free consultation at (850) 681-7777 or leave us an online message on our website.
Written by Karissa Key