DUI Claims Life Of 22-Year-Old; Driver Accused Of Driving Wrong Way
Police say that a DUI driver caused the death of a 22-year-old woman over the 4th of July weekend when she was driving her Kia Optima in the southbound lane while heading north. As the vehicle was headed directly at them, a car in front of the descendant swerved to avoid the Optima. The decedent’s vehicle was directly behind that car and could not swerve quickly enough to avoid the accident. The driver was taken to a nearby hospital for minor injuries and police immediately smelled alcohol on her breath. They also claim the woman was driving under the influence of marijuana.
Interestingly, the police say that they “immediately smelled alcohol” on the woman, but her BAC when taken 8 hours after the accident was below the legal limit. Two tests put her BAC at .059 and .058. She has also been charged with marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia, along with DUI manslaughter and DUI with property damage.
There’s yet to be any evidence that the woman was over the legal limit. Additionally, you can have marijuana in your car without having smoked it prior to driving. However, the timing of the accident will work against the defendant, as it was nearly 5 am when the incident occurred. Unless the woman was coming home from her shift, it will be very difficult to convince a jury that she wasn’t high and drunk at the time of the accident.
If the police did not have any evidence of marijuana, their prosecution would be much more difficult. Prosecutors would have to use esoteric algorithms to determine what the driver’s BAC would have been when they were driving. Juries don’t like this because they don’t know how it works, and common sense tells you it’s just a guesstimate based on averages. That being said, the marijuana is the reason why the prosecution will be able to make a DUI manslaughter argument against the defendant. In the absence of that marijuana, the woman broke no law.
And the marijuana evidence is not as strong as you might think. While the woman certainly had the drug on her, that doesn’t prove that she was high at the time of the accident. In fact, it’s more than likely that her defense attorney will raise that point in court. And there are no agreed-upon methods for determining marijuana inebriation scientifically or what constitutes a safe limit for driving.
With the facts of the case clouded, the woman may be able to negotiate a favorable plea. Nonetheless, the State of Florida does not let a DUI manslaughter defendant avoid prison time if they are convicted. She will spend at least four years in prison on that charge.
Talk to an Orlando DUI Attorney Today
If you’ve been charged with DUI in the Orlando area, call the Florida DUI defense attorneys at FL DUI Group today to get ahead of the charges and reduce your burden to the state.