Miami criminal defense attorney Evan A. Hoffman is representing a 32-year-old woman who was charged with driving under the influence (DUI) manslaughter, DUI causing serious bodily injury, DUI with property damage, and possession of marijuana following an April 8 crash in Key West that killed an off-duty Delray Beach police officer and left another critically injured. The South Florida Sun Sentinel reported on May 3 that police said the alleged offender refused to perform field sobriety exercises or allow a blood sample to be taken and asked for a lawyer, but authorities forcibly obtained a blood sample after a prosecutor obtained a judge’s signature on a search warrant.
Key West police said the alleged offender had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.17. “This arrest was only based on the alcohol blood draw that was done forcibly,” Hoffman told WTVJ-TV. “I was told that the other blood tests aren’t even in yet. So, someone essentially decided to jump the gun as far as we’re concerned.”
While the alleged offender was taken into custody by the Broward Sheriff’s Office, the Sun Sentinel reported that she will be taken from a Broward County jail to Key West because the woman faces charges in Monroe County. Hoffman told WPTV-TV that authorities jumped the gun and should have awaited pending toxicology results before arresting his client.
“We’re still waiting on the evidence, that’s why I’m saying there was no reason for them to drop the warrant at this point,” Hoffman told WPTV. “They don’t even have all the testing.”
Hoffman told the Sun Sentinel that he would attempt to have his client’s bonds totaling $170,000 reduced once she is returned to Key West. “We think that bond is excessive, even if she could afford it,” Hoffman told the Sun Sentinel. “There are other ways to protect the community and assure her appearance in court.”
Miami DUI Manslaughter Lawyer
Under Florida Statute § 316.193(3)(c)3, an alleged offender commits the crime of DUI manslaughter if he or she commits a DUI violation, operates a motor vehicle, and by reason of such operation, causes or contributes to causing the death of any human being or unborn child. DUI manslaughter is a second-degree felony in Florida, although the crime can become a first-degree felony if at the time of the crash, the alleged offender knew, or should have known, that the crash occurred and failed to give information and render aid as required by Florida Statute § 316.062.
As a serious felony offense, DUI manslaughter carries very steep penalties. Second-degree felony offenses are punishable by up to 15 years in prison, and first-degree felony convictions can result in up to 30 years in prison. Either grade of felony also carries a possible fine of up to $10,000.
Because state law in Florida only requires that the operation of the vehicle caused the accident and the driver was intoxicated, the simple negligence threshold for a prosecutor to satisfy is a lower burden than traditional manslaughter or vehicular homicide cases. It is not even necessary for a prosecutor to prove that an alleged offender’s intoxication directly caused the accident.
It is critical for any person who has been arrested or may be under investigation for an alleged DUI manslaughter offense to immediately retain legal counsel in order to achieve the most favorable outcome to his or her case. Miami criminal defense attorney Evan A. Hoffman handles all kinds of drunk driving charges. He can preserve evidence and review law enforcement handling of the arrest to fight and possibly get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed.