Vehicular manslaughter charges in Florida can be a life-altering event that can have significant consequences for those charged with the offense. This criminal offense can result in long jail sentences, hefty fines, and a criminal record that can hinder future employment opportunities.
If you or a loved one is facing vehicular manslaughter charges in Florida, it’s essential to understand the law and your legal rights to protect yourself and ensure the best possible outcome. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what vehicular manslaughter is, the types of vehicular manslaughter charges in Florida, the legal consequences, and the defense strategies you can use to fight the charges.
Legal Definition of Vehicular Manslaughter in FL
Vehicular manslaughter occurs when a person causes another person bodily harm or death while driving or operating a motor vehicle or watercraft. However, legally, vehicular manslaughter in Florida typically falls under two categories: vehicular homicide and DUI manslaughter.
Vehicular homicide, as defined under Florida Statute § 782.071, is the act of causing the death of another person while operating a vehicle in a reckless or negligent manner. You can also be charged with vehicular homicide if while operating a motor vehicle you cause the death of an unborn child because of injuries the mother receives.
DUI manslaughter charges are brought when someone is killed as a result of an accident involving a driver who was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Under Florida Statute § 316.193(1) and (3)(c)(3), a person can face criminal consequences if they are in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence to the point where their faculties are inhibited or have a BAC of 0.08 or higher and cause the death of another person. Even if you did not mean to cause another person harm, you can still be charged with DUI manslaughter.
Street Racing Crimes in Florida
It is also important to note that street racing is illegal in Florida, and in some cases, a person can face criminal charges if their highway/street racing causes the death of another person. In addition to facing vehicular homicide charges, a person can also face additional penalties for engaging in a highway race that results in death. Highway racing is a first-degree misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of no more than $1,000 (for first-time violations); violators of this offense can face license suspension as well as imprisonment for up to a year.
Florida Statute § 316.191 outlines highway racing offenses in more detail.
Vehicular Manslaughter | Florida Sentence
The penalties for vehicular manslaughter in Florida depend on the specific charge brought against you. For vehicular homicide, you may face a second-degree felony charge, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
For DUI manslaughter, the penalties can be much more severe. DUI manslaughter is considered a second-degree felony with a mandatory minimum sentence of four years in prison, a $10,000 fine, and a permanent revocation of your driver's license. Additionally, if you have previous DUI convictions, the penalties can be even more severe.
Get Legal Help
At the Law Office of Jody L. Fisher, our attorney has over two decades of legal experience. If you or a loved one are facing vehicular manslaughter charges, you can trust our firm to help you build a solid defense strategy.
Call (352) 503-4111 to get started on your case today.