DUI & Serious Injury(s)
If you cause a DUI with serious injury in Fort Lauderdale, you will likely find yourself facing felony charges, with the potential for extensive jail time and other penalties.
At the Ansara Law Firm, our Fort Lauerdale DUI defense attorneys will fight to ensure your rights are protected and you obtain the most favorable outcome possible.
In Florida, the crime of DUI causing serious injury occurs when someone drives under the influence of alcohol or drugs and in so doing causes or contributes to a serious personal injury to another person or persons. The offense carries a maximum penalty of five years, and there can be substantial mandatory minimum sentencing.
Our criminal defense lawyers in Fort Lauderdale will work closely with you to investigate your case and determine the most effective defense given the circumstances.Defining DUI With Serious Bodily Injury
To understand more about how prosecutors approach case of DUI with serious bodily injury, we turn to F.S. 316.193(3).
The statute requires proof that:
- Defendant drove or was in actual physical control of the vehicle;
- While driving/ in actual physical control, defendant was under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the point his/ her normal faculties were impaired, or that his/ her blood-alcohol level met or exceeded 0.08;
- As a result of this action, defendant caused or contributed to a crash resulting in seriously bodily injury to someone else – including a passenger.
In order to show defendant caused or contributed to the crash, Florida courts have held it’s not necessary to prove defendant was the only cause of the crash (see the 1989 Florida Supreme Court decision in Magaw v. Florida).
It should also be noted that not just any injury is applicable here. To be considered a “serious bodily injury,” it must meet the following criteria:
- Create substantial risk of death;
- Create substantial risk of serious personal disfigurement;
- Create substantial risk of protected loss/ impairment of any organ or member of the body.
As our DUI criminal defense attorneys in Fort Lauderdale know, there possible penalties in these cases are substantial, but there are also a number of effective defenses.You Need An Attorney
When you are involved in a DUI, you always face criminal charges. When DUI & serious injury(s) occur, however, the criminal sanctions become much more serious. As such, it is especially important to contact a Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney whenever an injury occurs in connection with a DUI.
The Ansara Law Firm has helped many clients successfully negotiate plea arrangements or defend themselves against these charges at trial. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.Laws on DUI & Serious Injuries in Florida
DUI charges are normally misdemeanor charges and first-time offenders may face a maximum of six months incarceration along with fines and community service. However, certain aggravating factors such as prior convictions or having a minor in the car can result in more serious consequences. Injuring someone while driving under the influence is also going to subject you to harsher criminal penalties and, in some cases, to additional charges on top of your DUI charge.
The type of criminal charges you may face as a result of causing a DUI injury will vary depending on the seriousness of the injury involved. For instance:
- Anyone who causes personal injury while driving under the influence may be guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor and face a fine up to $1,000 and up to a year of incarceration (Fl. Stat. 316.193(3)).
- Anyone who causes serious bodily injury while driving under the influence may be found guilty of a third-degree felony. Penalties for a third-degree felony include a fine up to $5,000 as well as up to five years of incarceration. Serious bodily injury is generally defined as disfigurement; a condition that has a substantial risk of death; or impairment of bodily organs or members.
When the serious injuries caused in a DUI accident lead to death, the charges and penalties become even worse. You may be charged with vehicular homicide or manslaughter and may be charged with a first or a second-degree felony depending upon the circumstances surrounding the accident and the death.
With long jail times and expensive fines, exploring all your options after a DUI involving serious injury is essential. An experienced Boward County DUI lawyer can help you to consider defenses to the charges against you (such as lack of proof you were indeed impaired at the time of the accident) or can assist you in attempting to negotiate a plea deal wherein you may be able to admit to lesser charges in exchange for less stringent penalties.
If you have been charged with DUI in Fort Lauderdale, call The Ansara Law Firm today for your free initial consultation at (954) 761-4011.