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DUI with Serious Bodily Injury

When an individual gets behind the wheel of a vehicle while drunk or impaired from unlawful substances, they have created a danger to themselves and the rest of society. This type of criminal offense is considered driving under the influence (DUI). When a DUI incident results in the injury of another person, the person responsible can be charged with DUI with Serious Bodily Injury.

Florida has harsh laws regarding drinking and driving, and the punishments can have a serious impact on a person’s life. While a standard DUI incident is considered a misdemeanor, a DUI offense that causes serious bodily injury will be charged as a felony offense. A defendant who is facing a DUI with serious bodily injury charge can face expensive fines, lose their license, have their vehicle impounded, and face the possibility of imprisonment.

An experienced criminal defense attorney focused on felony DUI cases in Tallahassee, FL, can help you protect your rights as you fight for the best result.

Attorney for DUI with Serious Bodily Injury in Tallahassee, FL

If you have been charged with a felony DUI with serious bodily injury, seek out the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney in Tallahassee. Florida DUI convictions are harsh and can haunt you even after you have completed the statute’s penalties. To avoid paying stiff penalties, losing your license, or facing imprison, you should hire an attorney to represent your case. A skilled defense attorney can fight for you and your future. The attorneys at Pumphrey Law Firm have years of experience representing clients in DUI cases and never settle for the easiest outcome.

Contact our office at (850) 681-7777 for a consultation to go over the allegations against you. Our law firm represents clients wrongly accused of a crime throughout the Florida Panhandle, including those in Tallahassee, Monticello, Crawfordville, and Midway.

Florida DUI With Serious Bodily Injury Information Center

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What is a DUI Offense?

The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) explains that driving under the influence (DUI) occurs when a person operates a motor vehicle while being under the influence of alcoholic beverages, chemical substances, or controlled substances.

Under Florida Statute Section 316.193, a person who drinks and drives, resulting in a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher or the driver’s normal faculties being impaired can be charged with a DUI offense. An important term regarding DUI cases is “actual physical control.” What this means is that a person can face criminal prosecution for a DUI offense for simply being inside the vehicle while under the influence. An example scenario would be if a drunk person were parked on the side of the road to sleep off the effects of alcohol but ends up taking the car out of park and letting it run into the road, causing a DUI accident with serious injuries.

A standard DUI offense is considered a misdemeanor; however, there can be more severe penalties for DUI incidents that resulted in bodily injury to another person.

DUI With Serious Bodily Injury

Florida Statute Section 316.193(3) explains that a person who is violation of a DUI offense, and by reason of such operation, causes or contributes to causing serious bodily injury to another person can be charged with a third-degree felony.

Under Florida Statute Section 316.1933, “serious bodily injury” refers to any injury a person involved in the DUI accident sustained, including the driver, that consisted of a physical condition creating a substantial risk of:

  • Physical disfigurement;
  • Loss or impairment of bodily functions; or
  • Any injury that will likely result in death.

For example, if a person under the influence of alcohol crashes into another vehicle and is the only one injured, he or she could still face a criminal charge for DUI with serious bodily injury.

Under the Florida Criminal Jury Instructions, the prosecution must prove the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The defendant drove or was in actual physical control of a vehicle;
  2. While driving or in actual physical control of the vehicle, the defendant either had a blood or breath-alcohol level of .08 or more (per grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or 210 liters of breath); and
  3. As a result, the defendant caused or contributed to causing serious bodily injury to the victim.

In a DUI case, serious bodily injury may be proved through medical documentation. Some cases might require the testimony of an expert medical witness to verify the seriousness of the injuries. Examples of serious bodily injury can include, but is not limited to:

  • Unconsciousness;
  • Extreme physical pain;
  • Disfigurement that is obvious or protracted, such as burn wounds;
  • Permanent or protracted impairment of a bodily organ or member;
  • Loss of mental faculties; or
  • Injuries involving substantial risk of death, such as profuse bleeding.

Cases involving the death of another person will be prosecuted differently from DUI cases involving serious bodily injury. If a person sustained an injury in the accident, and later died as a result of that injury, the case may be charged as DUI manslaughter.

Contact an experienced DUI defense attorney in Tallahassee if you have been accused of DUI with serious bodily injury.

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Penalties for DUI With Serious Bodily Injury in Florida

While a standard DUI offense is typically considered a misdemeanor, DUI resulting in bodily injury is classified as a felony offense. Felony charges result in more strict legal consequences than misdemeanor charges.

A defendant charged with a DUI offense that resulted in serious bodily injury faces a third-degree felony. A conviction for a third-degree felony can carry:

  • Up to $5,000 in fines; and
  • Up to five years in prison.

In some instances of DUI with serious bodily injury the penalties can be harsher. If you are considered a repeat offender or have been previously convicted of DUI, you may face a more severe punishment.

If you have been accused of a DUI offense and have questions regarding the penalties you face or how to fight against a conviction, consult the defense attorneys with Pumphrey Law Firm.

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Additional DUI Repercussions

In addition to the statute-specific fines and sentencing, DUI offenses can carry additional penalties, including:

  • Probation with monthly reporting;
  • Completion of a substance abuse course;
  • Completion of substance abuse treatment;
  • Community service;
  • Ignition interlock device (IID); and/or
  • License suspension for at least three years.

The defendant could also receive a civil lawsuit for damages, which would then have to be handled by a personal injury attorney. Even if the person was a passenger in the car, he or she still could file a lawsuit for damages. Damages can include medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. While Pumphrey Law covers criminal cases, it is important to point out the additional repercussions that can arise from a conviction.

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Defenses to DUI Serious Bodily Injury in Florida

Facing a DUI charge can be intimidating, especially when the defendant has been alleged to have caused injury to another person. However, there are still options to help you combat a DUI conviction. By hiring an attorney experienced in DUI cases, drivers who have been accused of this offense may be able to have their charges reduced or dropped. Possible defenses include:

  • Improper Field Sobriety Test – The purpose of a field sobriety test is for the arresting officer to determine if the suspected person is impaired from alcohol or other substances. Field sobriety tests often evaluate the person’s physical abilities and the ability to think quickly. However, a defendant with any physical disabilities or prior injuries could affect the test, making them inadmissible as evidence.
  • Inadmissible Breath Results – Police officers have breathalyzers on hand to assess the breath-alcohol content of suspected drunk drivers. These tests have specific requirements, and the failure to follow these requirements or properly maintain the device can result in faulty test results and can be inadmissible as evidence.
  • Faulty Blood Test A DUI defense attorney can argue the blood test used by the officer at the scene of the arrest may have been faulty. For example, if the officer administered the blood test too late, the results may be inaccurate. Or the test results could be thrown out if it were improperly administered by the officer or was administered by an unqualified person. Additionally, the blood test may have been tainted in the laboratory, which would produce skewed results.
  • Defendant wasn’t driving or in actual physical control If you were not the person driving or in actual physical control of the car, you may be able to have the charges reduced or dismissed. The prosecution must prove you were the person actually driving the car when the accident occurred.
  • No Serious Injuries If the car accident did not result in serious injuries to the body, or injuries that likely would result in death, then your charge can possibly be reduced to a less severe charge.
  • Constitutional Violations The arresting officer may have violated your constitutional rights, which could lead to your charge being dismissed or reduced. Examples of constitutional violations are if the arresting officer did not have probable cause to stop your car or the arresting officer failed to give you Miranda Warnings.

The best way to establish which defense(s) are relevant to your DUI with personal injury case is to first consult with an experienced defense attorney in your area.

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Finding DUI Injury Lawyers in Tallahassee, FL

If you have been charged with DUI causing serious bodily injury, contact a North Florida defense attorney to discuss the facts of your case. Any DUI offense should not be taken lightly, as a conviction comes with a multitude of penalties. You could be required to pay expensive fines, serve time in jail, or even have your driver’s license revoked. These are harsh consequences that would make any person’s life much more difficult.

To avoid a conviction, consider hiring the attorneys at Pumphrey Law Firm. Our attorneys represent clients on a variety of DUI charges from a misdemeanor for a first DUI arrest or a more serious felony charge such as DUI manslaughter. We work hard to help our clients fight for the best result in their case. Contact our firm now at (850) 681-7777 for a free consultation with an attorney.


Page Updated January 30, 2024

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