Under Florida law, if you are convicted of causing a vehicular accident in which someone was killed and your blood alcohol content (BAC) was at or beyond the legal limit of 0.08, you will be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of four years in prison. You may be sentenced up to 15 years for your first offense. If the judge believes there are extenuating circumstances, or you have previous DUI convictions, a higher sentence can be imposed.
To show the disparity in sentences, in one recent case, a 20-year-old woman left an after work party and texted a friend, “2 drunk 2 care” just before turning down the wrong way of a one-way street and plowing head-on into a car, killing the driver and passenger, both young women in their 20s. Despite the driver’s age, remorse and guilty plea, the judge sentenced her to 24 years in prison.
In another courtroom, a 27-year-old woman received a four-year sentence despite the fact that she was out on bail awaiting trial on a DUI manslaughter charge when she killed a pedestrian in a hit-and-run car crash. On the same day, in another courtroom in the same building, a man received a 10-year sentence for killing two men who were eating in a restaurant when the drunk driver plowed into the side of it.
Why is there such a disparity?
According to some legal experts, disparities exist due to many different factors, including:
- The strength of the evidence.
- All the circumstances surrounding the crash.
- Defendant’s criminal history.
- Media attention.
- Response and wishes of the victim’s family.
- Skill of the defense attorney.
There are definitely no guarantees in the legal system, but if you are facing DUI manslaughter charges, the sooner you consult with a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney, the more likely you are to mitigate your penalty.
How a Jacksonville DUI Manslaughter Attorney Can Help
If you have been arrested and charged with DUI Manslaughter, do not talk about your case with anyone including law enforcement. Anything you say can and will be used against you. There are challenges that can be made to the evidence, such as the accuracy of the BAC or other sobriety tests. There must be an investigation into all the circumstances surrounding the crash.
Contact James Davis as soon as possible. If the two of you decide to work together, he will protect all of your constitutional rights and obtain for you the best possible outcome. If plea negotiations are in your best interest, James Davis will negotiate the best plea deal possible. If taking your case to trial is the best option, you will feel confident having him standing by your side in the courtroom.