Fatal Hit and Run in Pinellas County Results in DUI Manslaughter
September 15, 2022 Don Pumphrey, Jr. Criminal Defense, Drunk Driving/DUI, News & Announcements Social Share
Driving while under the influence can result in extreme consequences in Florida. Aside from potentially harming yourself or others during a car accident, there are also criminal charges that a person can face if caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
A recent case in Florida resulted in the death of an innocent bystander on a bike, while the defendant has now been charged with DUI manslaughter and fleeing the scene of a fatal crash. We will cover the details of the case, along with the charges for a DUI in Florida.
What was the Incident?
Nicholas Carusotti, 29, was arrested for hitting a cyclist while driving and then fleeing the scene. Carusotti was driving eastbound in his Toyota Tacoma when he swerved and hit someone on a bicycle. The crash happened around 2:39 a.m., and police believe that Carusotti was under the influence of alcohol.
According to the press release from Florida Highway Patrol, Carusotti fled the scene of the accident in his pick-up truck. Eventually, he ditched the truck and attempted to run on foot.
Pinellas Park Police tracked down Carusotti and determined that he was in fact impaired while driving. State troopers later arrested Carusotti and booked him at the station. The cyclist who was hit was a 64-year-old resident of New York and was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. Unfortunately, the victim suffered fatal injuries from the accident.
Since the victim died in the wreck, Carusotti was charged with DUI manslaughter, along with fleeing the scene of a fatal crash. This is not the first time Carusotti has faced driving violations. He has had several driving citations in the past.
Back in 2012 when he was only 19, Carusotti was convicted of driving with an expired registration. Then again two years later, he was convicted of the same offense. In 2015 Carusotti received a traffic violation for unlawful speeding. Four years later in 2019, he failed to stop at a red-light camera. Then again in 2020 Carusotti was charged with speeding and was forced to complete a court-ordered driving school.
DUI Manslaughter in Florida
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can result in serious consequences in Florida. Under Florida Statute Section 316.193, a driver is considered to be driving under the influence if they are in “actual physical control” of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A police officer can test your blood alcohol content (BAC) to determine whether you are past the State’s legal limit. In Florida, the limit is 0.08.
The penalties for a DUI vary depending on whether it is your first or subsequent offense. For a first-time DUI, you could get charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. The penalties for a second-degree misdemeanor include up to a $500 fine, and up to six months in jail. However, if it is a fourth DUI charge, then it is considered a felony. The penalties for a felony DUI include up to a $1,000 fine and up to five years in jail.
If the victim dies after a DUI car crash, it is considered DUI manslaughter. The charge would not be considered murder since the driver did not intend to kill anyone, and there was no malicious intent.
Florida Statute 316.193(3)(c)(3) explains that a DUI manslaughter charge results in a second-degree felony. In Florida, the penalty for a second-degree felony includes up to a $10,000 fine and up to fifteen years in prison.
To find out more about DUI charges in Florida, read our informative page here.
Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida
Getting accused of a crime can be extremely stressful. That is especially true with a DUI manslaughter charge in which the driver did not intend to harm anyone. The best bet for strategizing a strong defense for your case is to work with a DUI Manslaughter defense attorney in Florida. Don Pumphrey and his team at Pumphrey Law Firm have experience representing clients across the state for various criminal charges. Call us today at (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message on our site to speak to a skilled defense attorney today.
Written by Karissa Key