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Florida DUI Defense Attorney > Blog > DUI Defense > Polk County Man Arrested on Charges of DUI Manslaughter After Striking Woman in Motorized Wheelchair

Polk County Man Arrested on Charges of DUI Manslaughter After Striking Woman in Motorized Wheelchair


A Polk County man was arrested on charges of DUI manslaughter after he struck a woman in a motorized wheelchair on Christmas Eve, according to Florida Highway Patrol. The crash occurred on Sunday around 6 p.m. The 40-year-old victim was headed east on West Pipkin Road when the defendant, a 67-year-old man, struck her with a 2019 Mazda. According to police, when they arrived at the scene, the defendant was observed stumbling and slurring his speech. Police said that his eyes were bloodshot and he was using the patrol car to maintain his balance. The defendant agreed to submit to a breathalyzer test and blew two samples that registered a .16—more than twice the legal limit. The defendant was booked in Polk County Jail and faces charges of DUI manslaughter, DUI with a BAC of .15 or higher, and DUI causing property damage.

Analyzing the charges 

DUI manslaughter is the most serious DUI crime you can face in Florida. Florida prosecutors aggressively prosecute the crime and routinely attempt to secure maximum sentences. If you plead guilty or are convicted of DUI manslaughter, you face a mandatory minimum sentence of at least four years. But the courts don’t hand out four-year sentences to just anybody. The recommended sentence for DUI manslaughter is just under 10 years.

For a defendant to get a sentence of 4 years, their attorney must advocate on their behalf. This includes pointing to mitigating circumstances in their individual case. For example, a driver with multiple DUIs on their record is unlikely to qualify for the 4-year minimum. The court will assume that they are not getting the picture and will continue to endanger the public with their reckless driving. The court can also look at the defendant’s BAC. In cases where the defendant’s BAC is more than twice the legal limit, the court will likely not be willing to offer the minimum sentence. In the case mentioned above, the defendant’s BAC was twice the legal limit and he could barely stand while he was being interrogated by police. This does not look good.

DUI manslaughter defense 

In the case mentioned above, the police have a breathalyzer test that shows that the defendant’s BAC was .16 at the time he struck the woman. They may also force the defendant to take a blood test since these are the most accurate tests authorities can administer. The defendant’s defense options are thus reduced. A good DUI defense attorney would appeal to the court and argue that this is the man’s first DUI offense and point to mitigating circumstances such as mental health issues that may have contributed to his substance abuse issues. The crash also occurred around the holiday season, and many people suffer from serious depression this time of year. A DUI defense attorney would draw attention to these as mitigating factors and hope the court saw fit to consider them.

Talk to an Orlando DUI Attorney Today 

FL DUI Group represents the interests of those charged with various DUI-related crimes in Orlando. Call our Florida DUI defense lawyers today to schedule an appointment and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.



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