We all know that driving while intoxicated can come with severe consequences. One of the most severe is when it involves vehicular manslaughter, also known as vehicular homicide. Vehicular manslaughter is a devastating yet all too common occurrence in the United States. In 2015, over 10,000 people were killed in intoxicated driving related accidents. How each state handles these offenses can vary, though all of them carry a heavy penalty. In some states, it can even lead to life in prison. For states that don’t carry statues for D.U.I. related vehicular manslaughter, it can be considered murder and have the same the consequences of it.
Driving while intoxicated is considered being “Criminally negligent” which summarized means you were breaking the law and being a danger to other people on the road. Being Criminally Negligent can also involve activities such as illegal racing. While each state approaches this issue differently, we will focus on how it is handled here in Florida. Vehicular Manslaughter in Florida is considered a second-degree felony and a has a maximum of 15 years confinement and $10,000 fine. It is important to remember that this sentence is only for the vehicular manslaughter and not for the overall sentence. The sentence could be more severe if other charges are applied as well. For instance, if you are involved in a case of vehicular manslaughter and leave the scene of the crime, the sentence could move to a first-degree felony with up to 30 years in prison.
It should also be noted that the driver’s intent is not required to prosecute if they were being criminally negligent. Even though the death or injury was not the intention of the driver, because they were driving recklessly, they can still be prosecuted for the death or injury. Had the incident happen with the driver being sober and obeying the laws of the road, there would be a strong chance that no criminal charges would be brought up against them.
Another point to know is that you might also be facing a civil suit filed by a victim or the victim’s family. Because Florida is a No-Fault state, it can be difficult to actually file a civil suit, but it is not impossible. If the cost of injury and damages exceeds the amount of insurance available, then a civil suit can be filed in a no-fault state like Florida.
When facing charges of vehicular manslaughter it is vital that you get an experienced and talented D.U.I. attorney in your corner. You have a lot to lose if you choose to face these charges alone. Contact Kip Miller of Koleilat & Miller to handle your case.