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Tampa DUI Manslaughter Cases Must Be Thoroughly Investigated


As the infamous “2 drunk 2 care” offender serves her 24-year prison term, others who’ve done similar harm to innocent bystanders and other vehicles have served an average of 6 years in Miami-Dade County, with a statewide average of just below 10 years. DUI manslaughter, in fact, gets more than its fair share of notoriety in Florida courts, although many defendants aren’t able to afford counsel to really look into cases.

This causes many defendants to serve time they could otherwise avoid.

Today, we’ll look at DUI manslaughter in Florida, what the statutes say, and the importance of launching an investigation that could prove manslaughter wasn’t the intended goal of the intoxicated driver – or, in some cases, didn’t happen at the expense of the defendant at all.

How Florida Defines DUI Manslaughter

Florida statute defines the crime of DUI manslaughter as one that’s committed:

  • When an individual operates a vehicle, or has physical control of a vehicle within the state of Florida, and that individual is:
  • Under the influence of alcoholic beverages or any chemical or controlled substance, when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired; or
  • Is found to have a BAC of .08 or more; or
  • Is found to have a breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher, and
  • Causes the death of another person, either directly or indirectly.

DUI manslaughter is considered a second-degree felony punishable by no less than 124½ months. Permanent license suspension, extended probation and other harsh penalties may accompany a conviction.

Why Investigating These Accidents Is Imperative

Certain elements required to prove DUI manslaughter demand an investigation in full prior to filing charges against an individual. More specifically, the defendant must be found in actual physical control or capable of being in control of the vehicle in question.

That said, it’s important for defendants accused of this crime to hire an attorney immediately. This is not necessarily because you want due process to be expedited, but because a law professional can assure the investigation is thorough. Remember, defendants must have the capacity to control, or being in control of, the vehicle while under the influence to be charged when someone loses their life.

Everything from a traffic stop, to breath results, to even insufficient probable cause should be heavily scrutinized. These cases can unravel quickly for prosecutors, which is the reason charges are often pled down to lesser included offenses, or dismissed altogether.

An officer’s insufficient probable cause may force prosecutors to dismiss DUI manslaughter as any evidence gathered after the fact would be deemed inadmissible.

Exercise Your Right to Fight

Defending DUI manslaughter charges alone could increase your sentence. It may deprive you of due process rights you were unaware existed. And it could put you behind bars for crimes you didn’t commit. May seem unlikely that courts would take advantage of pro se litigants, but it does happen.

Some extreme sentences for manslaughter while under the influence have hit 20 or more years. With that type of time hovering above you, it’s better to invest in criminal defense attorney with proven case results than going alone.

Donald C. Barrett, P.A. is one of Tampa’s top criminal defense attorneys with experience in defending DUI manslaughter cases. If arrested or believe an arrest is forthcoming, call his office immediately at 813-280-1201.


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