Jacksonville man sentenced to 10 years for DUI manslaughter in crash that killed his friend

September 25, 2013

A 20-year-old Jacksonville man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the traffic crash that killed his friend in 2012. David Gallagher was sentenced on the DUI manslaughter charge that he pleaded guilty to in June, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Gallagher lost control of the car he was driving about 3:20 a.m., swerved off the road, hitting a mailbox and a parked truck, the newspaper reported. Gallagher suffered non-life threatening injuries. His passenger, though, died at the scene.

Part of Gallagher's sentence also includes 300 hours of community service to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the newspaper reported. That could be done during Gallagher's time in prison, for example. If he is transported to local high schools to talk about the consequences of driving drunk and underage, as he was the night of the accident. The penalties and charges in Jacksonville DUI cases are ultimately based on how much damage a person causes to property or to other people while he or she is driving intoxicated. For example, take a common DUI where a person is pulled over for one reason or another and then arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence. That DUI is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail. There are other serious consequences that can come with it, including fines, a driver's license suspension and mandatory educational classes, but the jail exposure is only six months on a driver's first DUI. A Jacksonville DUI crash that involves property damage, either another vehicle or running into a fence or building, is still a misdemeanor, but the jail exposure jumps to one year. When injuries to people come into play, stakes increase dramatically. A Jacksonville Driving Under the Influence causing serious bodily injury is a third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of five years in prison. A Jacksonville DUI manslaughter, which is a DUI causing a death, is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The charge also carries a minimum mandatory sentence of four years in prison. In Gallagher's Jacksonville DUI Case, the judge went closer to the maximum, sentencing his to 10 years.

While many misdemeanor charges in Jacksonville DUI cases can be reduced or bring not guilty verdicts at trial, that is far less likely in charges involving injury or death. The biggest reason is people can refuse a breath test in a Jacksonville DUI case. While that comes with a penalty, it significantly reduces evidence in a Jacksonville DUI Case. But, if there is an injury or death, police can take a suspect's blood without consent and test it for alcohol content. If it comes back that the person was above the legal limit of .08, there's not much the defense can do. That's why Jacksonville DUI Manslaughter Cases do not go to trial as often as misdemeanor DUIs and often result in guilty pleas. Our Jacksonville DUI Attorney has represented hundreds of people charged with DUI and knows all of the intricate details police must follow when making a DUI arrest. Our Jacksonville DUI Attorney will thoroughly investigative the case against you or your loved one to determine if there are areas to contest, especially in terms of the traffic stop.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Duval County or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville DUI Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.