Mother Charged With DUI After She Crashes Vehicle With Three Children in Tow
A New York mother is facing serious DUI charges after police say she lost control of her vehicle and struck a Brentwood home with three children in the vehicle. Footage shows the vehicle careening off the roadway and into a stone pillar at the mouth of a driveway. The vehicle ended up crashing through the backyard and into a family’s kitchen. Luckily, no one was injured either in the home or in the car.
While the accident occurred in New York, we can apply Florida law to the case to see how it would have turned out had it been tried in Florida.
DUI with Property Damage
Florida law imposes enhanced penalties on any individual who causes an injury, a serious injury, takes a life, or causes significant property damage.
Under Florida law, any DUI in which a drunk driver causes some form of property damage or a nonserious physical injury has roughly double the severity of a “simple” DUI with no property damage or injury. Instead of being a second-degree misdemeanor, DUI with property damage is considered a first-degree misdemeanor. That means the maximum jail sentence is one year in county jail and a $1,000 fine.
Further, in Florida, a driver under the influence may be eligible for a diversion program that reduces the charges against them, but if there is property damage, then they are not eligible for the program. If more than one person’s property was damaged, they can be charged twice for the crime.
DUI with Minors in the Vehicle
DUI with a minor in the vehicle also has escalated penalties. Someone who is arrested for DUI and has minors in the vehicle will face the same penalties they would face if their BAC was .15 or higher. The maximum jail sentence is nine months, but the crime can be charged once for every minor in the vehicle. In other words, the defendant can be facing 3 counts of DUI with a minor in the vehicle.
If we add up all the charges against the defendant, she would be facing a maximum 39-month sentence.
The administrative penalties and license suspension are longer too. Worst of all, child welfare services may open an investigation into the case to determine if the parent is responsible enough to have custody of their children.
In terms of the property damage, all of that would have to be repaid in full.
Talk to an Orlando DUI Attorney
One thing that you don’t want on your record is a conviction for DUI with minors in your vehicle. The state takes these charges very seriously and will open an inter-agency investigation to determine if the child’s needs are being met at home. Call the Florida DUI defense attorneys at the FL DUI Group today to learn more about how we can protect you and your family.