Woman Facing DUI Manslaughter 1 Year After Fatal Accident
A Deltona woman is facing DUI manslaughter charges one year after a fatal accident that killed a pedestrian. The driver’s blood was tested at the crash and a year later, her BAC was revealed to be .144. The victim had bent over to pick up his skateboard and was holding the skateboard when he was struck. Bystanders attempted to perform CPR, but the victim died at the hospital. The driver will now face charges of DUI manslaughter, a crime for which the absolutely minimum sentence is 4 years in state prison.
Understanding DUI manslaughter prosecutions
Generally speaking, if a person is killed at the time of the crash, the police won’t waste time on field sobriety tests of breathalyzers. They go straight for your blood which produces the most accurate results. Unless the test is performed improperly, blood tests are extremely difficult for a defense attorney to beat.
However, it can take a long time for the blood sample to be tested by a lab inundated by samples. In this case, charges weren’t filed until a full year after the accident while police awaited the results from the lab.
Prosecutors have good reasons for managing cases like this. Once charges are filed, the clock begins ticking down on the prosecution. Since it takes a full year to get results back from the lab, police, even if they strongly suspect someone is drunk at the time, will wait to press charges until the results from the lab come back. In other words, they won’t be in a race with the lab to get the evidence they need to pursue the conviction. They will already have that information.
Defenses to DUI manslaughter
You may be surprised by this, but this particular defendant still has a valid defense to the charges. She could blame the victim for stepping out in traffic or by claiming she did not have enough time to react. Even if she is guilty of DUI, to prove DUI manslaughter, the prosecutors must establish that the driver was culpably negligent for the death. If the victim contributed negligence in any way, that could hurt the prosecution’s case. In fact, it could prevent them from pursuing manslaughter charges at all and instead be forced to pursue simple DUI charges.
It is unlawful to drive a vehicle with a BAC over .08, but just because someone dies while you’re drunk, it doesn’t mean you’re responsible for their death. The prosecution must still establish that your culpable negligence was the direct cause of the victim’s death. In some cases, that can be harder to do than others.
Talk to an Orlando DUI Attorney Today
If you are facing charges related to DUI, call the Florida DUI defense attorneys at the FL DUI Group today to schedule an appointment and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.