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Florida DUI Defense Attorney > Blog > DUI Defense > Florida Woman Faces DUI Manslaughter Charge After Killing Cyclist

Florida Woman Faces DUI Manslaughter Charge After Killing Cyclist


An Ocala woman was arrested and taken to jail on suspicion of DUI after she struck and killed a bicyclist, according to police. The 43-year-old defendant was arrested on charges of DUI manslaughter and leaving the scene of a crash with a death, the Ocala Police Department reported in a news release.

Police say that on January 7, officers were called after a driver crashed into a bicyclist. The cyclist was later identified as a 61-year-old woman. The driver, who was later identified by police, left the scene of the crash but later returned, police said. Police noted that her speech was slurred, her eyes were bloodshot, and she had a strong odor of alcohol emanating from her breath.

Police said that the woman showed clear signs of impairment during field sobriety tests. She refused to take a voluntary blood test or the required breathalyzer test. She is currently being held in jail without bond.

DUI manslaughter without chemical testing 

When the state prosecutor has chemical tests to prove that the defendant was over the legal limit while they were operating their vehicle, it’s easier for them to establish that the driver was drunk. This is known as a per se DUI conviction. The driver is presumed to be drunk if their BAC is .08 or greater. But what happens when the prosecutor doesn’t have BAC evidence from a blood or breath test?

In the case mentioned above, the woman refused to take a breath test or provide a blood sample. In this case, police can force the woman to take a blood test because there was a death involved in the accident. Alternatively, they don’t necessarily need chemical testing to prove the woman was drunk beyond a reasonable doubt.

Before chemical testing was invented, there were still DUI laws on the books. During this period, officers would use field sobriety tests and provide testimony during trial that would help convict the individual accused of DUI. When it comes to DUI manslaughter, the stakes are very high. An individual facing this charge faces a mandatory minimum of 4 years in state prison with a recommended sentencing range of around 10 years. It’s a serious crime.

So, in this case, police will either force the woman to give blood to perform a blood alcohol test or use the testimony of the arresting officer to convict her at trial. Juries tend to believe officers when they say a suspect was acting drunk. They don’t necessarily require proof by chemical test to come back with a guilty verdict.

The woman will also face an automatic suspension of her license for refusing the chemical test under Florida’s implied consent law. So it’s perfectly possible she has doubled her penalties by refusing to take a chemical test.

Talk to an Orlando, FL DUI Attorney Today 

The Florida DUI defense attorneys at FL DUI Group represent the interests of Orlando residents who have been charged with DUI. Call our office today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin discussing defense strategy right away.



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