Woman Charged With DUI Manslaughter, Possession Of Fake License
An Orlando woman is facing charges of DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide, DUI causing major bodily injury, reckless driving causing serious bodily injury, and possession of a fraudulent driver’s license.
The driver caused a fatal accident when she was driving her vehicle in the wrong lane and collided with another vehicle head-on. The driver of the second vehicle died at the scene. There were also two passengers in the defendant’s vehicle that were injured.
The article states that the driver appeared inebriated at the scene. However, she has been charged with both DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide. The two criminal charges can be filed together, but you cannot be convicted of both in a typical prosecution since both criminal acts refer to the same crime.
DUI manslaughter is charged when prosecutors have a smoking gun in terms of a tox screen. Vehicular homicide is charged when the driver’s driving is so reckless that it makes injury to others likely. If the police don’t have a tox screen, they can charge both and wait to see if the tox screen comes back positive. If it does, then they drop the vehicular homicide charge. If not, they pursue that charge and drop DUI manslaughter. Even without a tox screen, however, they can pursue the manslaughter charge.
Proving vehicular homicide
The prosecution must establish that your driving was so reckless that it made an injury or accident likely. If someone dies while you’re operating your vehicle in a reckless fashion, you can be charged with vehicular homicide. It’s rare that anyone is convicted on this charge, but racing your vehicle, trying to flee, or other conduct that imperils the public is the type of reckless conduct that triggers this sort of prosecution. In this case, the driver was driving the wrong way on the street. That is enough to trigger a reckless driving prosecution, so it’s enough to trigger a vehicular homicide prosecution if someone dies.
However, that probably won’t be necessary. The tox screen will likely come back positive and prosecutors will be able to file DUI manslaughter charges. The defendant will have no defense to these charges and if she elects to plead guilty, she must serve a mandatory minimum term of 4 years. The recommended sentence is ten years for such a charge, but first-time offenders generally qualify for reduced sentencing.
It is likely the fake ID charge will be dropped as the defendant was 21 at the time of her arrest. She probably had a sister’s driver’s license in her purse for use at bars when she was younger.
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