DUI manslaughter charges are frequently filed against people who drive recklessly while inebriated and cause the death of another person. Further, such charges may be brought even if it is not immediately evident that drunk driving caused the collision and consequent loss of life. In such cases, a DUI defendant may be able to argue that the prosecution has not shown enough evidence to prove guilt. In a recent Florida decision, the court considered what evidence the state needs present to prove that a motorist was driving while intoxicated and caused a fatal accident. If you’ve been charged with DUI manslaughter, it is wise to speak to a knowledgeable Florida DUI defense attorney about your possible defenses.
The Facts of the Case
According to reports, the defendant was traveling on the back of his ATV with his son. They were traveling on a country road with poor visibility and no shoulder. The ATV tipped over into a ditch at 9:00 p.m. The defendant was able to return the ATV to the road, and he and his son climbed on and attempted to start it. Witnesses nearby attempted to warn a truck approaching the ATV to slow down and encourage the defendant and his son to get off of the road.
It is alleged that a truck collided with the ATV, killing the defendant’s child and seriously wounding the defendant, who was flown to the hospital. The defendant admitted to drinking, and a blood test revealed that his blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was. 16. After a trial, he was found guilty of DUI manslaughter. He filed an appeal, claiming that the State had failed to present enough evidence to prove his guilt.
Evidence Needed to Prove DUI Manslaughter
To obtain a conviction for DUI manslaughter in Florida, the State must show that the defendant was driving while legally intoxicated and that the operation of the vehicle caused or contributed to the death of another person. In the case at hand, the court determined that the defendant’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was adequate proof that he was intoxicated at the time of the accident and that he was in actual control of the ATV at the time.
Furthermore, the court found that the State had presented sufficient evidence that the defendant’s operation of the ATV while inebriated contributed to his son’s death. The court clarified that a driver’s actions do not have to be the sole cause of an accident to result in a DUI manslaughter conviction. Instead, the State needs simply demonstrate that it played a role in the victim’s death. The defendant’s conviction was thus upheld by the court.
Consult a Skillful Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney
DUI manslaughter allegations often carry severe consequences, so anyone accused of such a crime should contact an experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. The skilled Tampa criminal defense attorneys of Hanlon Law are adept at helping criminal defendants fight to protect their interests, and if you hire us, we will work diligently on your behalf. You can contact us via the form online or at 813-228-7095 to set up a meeting.