Orange County Man Charged with DUI Manslaughter
An Orange County man is facing charges after an accident that took the life of a fourteen-year-old boy. Investigators say that Joel Polanco Sanchez was driving a 2007 Nissan when he attempted to change lanes. His vehicle struck a 2019 Chrysler Pacifica in the next lane over. Both vehicles ended up over the guardrail. The who died in the crash was not wearing a seatbelt, authorities said. Four others were injured in the crash.
Florida Highway Patrol says that Sanchez’s BAC was .16 at the time of the accident, which is more than twice the legal limit. Sanchez will be charged with DUI involving death and DUI involving injury.
Aggravating Factors for Florida DUI
In this case, there are several aggravating factors and our defendant is looking at a decade or more behind bars. Aggravating factors can bump a misdemeanor DUI charge up to a felony charge. In this case, there are at least two aggravating factors.
First, Sanchez’s blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit. This qualifies his case to be charged as aggravated or felony DUI. Second, the accident caused bodily injury to four passengers in the Pacifica. Their injuries also increase the penalties for Sanchez’s DUI.
It is unclear from this article whether or not the 14-year-old boy was in the Pacifica or driving with Sanchez. But an individual driving under the influence with a minor child in the car can be charged with felony DUI as well. Aggravated DUI, without any bodily injury or death, can be charged as a third-degree felony with a statutory maximum of five years in state prison.
Resolving This Issue With the Authorities
A defense attorney taking a case like this would look at several factors before preparing a defense. The main question will be whether or not Sanchez had any prior DUIs on his record. If he does, then the courts will likely charge him with DUI manslaughter which carries a statutory minimum of ten years in state prison unless the judge can find cause for a downward departure sentence. That charge is also compounded atop the DUI causing injury charges and the aggravated DUI charge.
A defense attorney looking to negotiate a fair plea for his client would point out that this was a first-time offense. First-time offenders may qualify for reduced charges or downward departure sentences, but that is contingent on whether the court is interested in leniency for the defendant. In a case where you have a child who lost their life in the accident, it will be more difficult for an attorney to negotiate such a plea. This is a reminder that driving impaired has serious consequences not only for others with whom you share the road, but also for those facing charges.
Talk to an Orlando DUI Defense Attorney
If you’re facing DUI charges in Orlando, FL, call FL DUI Group today to schedule an appointment and let us have a look at your case. We may be able to get the charges reduced, dismissed, or a not-guilty verdict at trial. Call our Florida DUI defense attorneys today to learn more.