Woman Strikes Police Cruiser, Officer; Charged With DUI
A 22-year-old woman is facing charges of DUI causing serious bodily injury after she plowed into the back of a police cruiser that had stopped to handle a roadside accident. The woman’s SUV struck the back of the cruiser and forced it into the officer who was taken to the hospital. The woman has been charged with DUI causing serious bodily injury. Her BAC was more than twice the legal limit when the accident occurred.
Early reports are that the officer will make a full recovery, but he is still in the hospital as of the writing of this article.
Understanding the charges
There are several elements to a “DUI with serious bodily injury” charge. Firstly, the police must establish that you were intoxicated at the time of the accident. While breathalyzer tests can be wrong, they usually aren’t that wrong. In other words, there’s a margin for error, but this particular defendant’s BAC was so high that a margin of error defense would not be appropriate here. So, they have her on DUI at least, most likely.
The next elements of the prosecution involve serious bodily injury. The prosecution must establish that your negligent driving caused the accident and that you were drunk at the time. In other words, it can’t be the other driver’s fault. In this case, the officer had his vehicle stopped by the road protecting the vehicles involved in the accident and his flashers and lights were on. Since this was a response time accident, the prosecution has enough evidence to link the inebriation to the negligent driving, and prove that the negligent driving was responsible for the accident.
Lastly, to prove “serious bodily injury” the prosecution must establish that the injuries are “serious” enough to trigger the statute. In this case, the prosecution must establish that the injury creates a substantial risk of death, includes serious personal disfigurement, or results in the protracted loss of a bodily organ.
It may be that the officer was taken to the hospital, treated for an urgent injury, but never substantially risked death. The determination is subjective and reached in accord with case law on the matter. It is likely that if the police officer had an overnight stay at the hospital, or required a life-saving surgical intervention, then the statute will apply to this case.
DUI causing serious bodily injury is a felony under Florida law and is punishable by up to five years in prison. It is quite likely that the police have all the elements required to prove their case. In that event, an attorney would advise their client to plead guilty to the charges and ask for a lenient sentence on the basis of pursuing drug and alcohol treatment. That works when it’s your first offense.
Talk to an Orlando DUI Attorney Today
If you have been charged with a DUI-related offense in Orlando, call the Florida DUI defense attorneys at FL DUI Group and we can begin discussing your options today.