DUI Serious Bodily Injury
DUI with Serious Bodily Injury accusation carry harsher punishments than standard DUI charges. If you are arrested in Florida for a DUI with serious bodily injury offense, please contact the Law Offices of Mark Eiglarsh to discuss your DUI Serious Bodily Injury Miami case.
An emotionally painful experience is often associated with being arrested for DUI in Florida. The situation becomes even more distressing if the crash results in an injury where the driver is accused of being under the influence.
Authorities must investigate the circumstances of a crash closely, and the prosecutor can bring multiple charges against the driver. If the victim's physical injury is serious, and if the driver is convicted of DUI Serious Bodily Injury, it may result in severe criminal penalties.
The definition of serious bodily injury in Florida is an injury to any person, apart from the accused driver, that consists of a physical condition that leads to a substantial risk of death, severe disfigurement, or permanent loss or disability of any body member or organ function. Additionally, even if a major bodily harm is not immediately apparent following a DUI-related collision, the alleged offender could still be prosecuted with this crime if the injuries later appear, become serious, or result in the victim’s death. However, a prosecutor must establish that a driver was legally under the influence and that the victim was seriously injured as a direct result of the driver’s negligence. If the victim succumbs to his or her injuries and dies, DUI manslaughter and even DUI murder are possible.
A trio of distinct factors must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in order for a driver to be charged with a DUI crime of causing serious bodily injury. These are:
- The defendant was driving the vehicle or was in actual physical control.
- When driving and physically operating the car, the defendant was under the influence of alcoholic drugs to the degree that their natural abilities were impaired or that they had at least 0.08 or higher breath/blood alcohol levels; and
- The defendant caused or contributed to serious bodily injury due to the vehicle's operation.
A defendant does not need to be the primary cause of the crash to be deemed a 'cause' for the purposes of the crime. In addition, Florida does not have to prove that the drinking of the operator was the cause of the accident. The Supreme Court of Florida has ruled that any deviation or lack of care is sufficient to support a conviction.
In most DUI cases, a forced blood draw is not permitted; however, in the event of an injury caused by a DUI, police may legally collect blood to determine the driver’s blood alcohol concentration, as well as test for any other illicit drugs present. These finding will be used in court to convict you. In this instance, a skilled DUI attorney is essential.
Under Florida Statute 316.193(3)(c) 2, DUI Serious Bodily Injury Fort Lauderdale is considered a third-degree offense in Florida, with penalties of up to five years' imprisonment or five years’ probation, in addition to a $5,000 fine. A conviction may also result in the victim being awarded restitution as compensation for the losses they sustained.
Under Florida sentencing guidelines, driving under the influence causing serious bodily injury is a level 7 offense. An offense conviction also carries the possibility of a mandatory minimum prison sentence. This may include a minimum of four years and three months in prison, the suspension of the driver's license for at least three years, the impounding of their vehicle, and mandatory DUI education classes, to name a few. Nevertheless, if, for instance, their blood alcohol level was at least .15 or higher or if there was a minor present when the DUI crime occurred, the criminal may still face increased penalties.