Manslaughter Charges Filed In Golf Cart Mishap
It seems like once a month we have a case that does not involve a car, truck, or commuter vehicle, but in Florida, all the laws that apply to those vehicles apply to any vehicle. This means that, logistically, you can be charged with DUI manslaughter if you accidentally kill someone on your bicycle. In this case, an allegedly drunk golf cart operator fatally injured a companion when the companion fell out of the golf cart.
Three individuals were riding in the cart when the driver hit a raised manhole cover. One individual who was standing in the back fell off the golf cart and died of his injuries.
Will the defendant really be charged with manslaughter?
The defendant has already been charged with manslaughter. The better question is: Does the prosecution have enough evidence to prove DUI manslaughter? The answer is no.
Even if the driver was completely wasted when the accident occurred, the victim was standing up in the back of a golf cart and the driver struck a manhole cover causing him to fall off. To prove DUI manslaughter, you need to prove more than just mere DUI and that somebody died. You must prove that the driver’s negligence directly led to the death. In this case, the passenger was probably also drunk, the manhole cover played a role, and the passenger was standing while the vehicle was moving. In other words, the driver can say that the passenger’s contribution to their own death was so significant that their own negligence was not a major contributing factor.
The driver can still be charged with DUI, however. Prosecutors may choose to offer a plea of DUI with serious bodily injury, or aggravated DUI, but these seem like charges that a defendant would want to fight.
Other factors contributing to this prosecution
Judging solely by the article, the police don’t have enough evidence to prove DUI manslaughter. However, we don’t necessarily know everything that the police know. We do know the law, however, and the law requires that a prosecutor prove that a defendant’s negligence was the direct cause of another person’s death. They can’t, for instance, charge you with the manslaughter of a passenger who hurls themselves out of your car while the vehicle is in motion, even if you’re three sheets to the wind at the time of the incident.
The prosecution would need much more than they currently have and the victim’s actions during the fatal incident will reduce the culpable negligence or even eliminate it entirely. But if there’s any lesson to be learned from this, it’s always best to avoid operating any vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol because if something bad does happen, police are going to assume it’s your fault and now you need a lawyer to avoid a minimum 4-year prison stint.
Talk to an Orlando DUI Attorney Today
If you have been arrested for DUI, call the Florida DUI defense attorneys at the FL DUI Group today and we can begin preparing your defense to the charges.