Nearly two years after a pedestrian was hit and killed in Nassau County, a woman has been charged with DUI manslaughter in connection with his death. The woman was arrested this month and charged with DUI manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident causing death, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. At the time of the crash, the driver fled the scene of the accident, but later drove back by while the investigation was ongoing, the newspaper report. Police stopped the vehicle then and were able to use it as evidence in the case, the newspaper reported.
DUI Manslaughter is normally a second-degree felony, but because the driver is accused of leaving the scene of the accident, it can be charged as a first-degree felony. That increases her prison time exposure on this charge from 15 years to 30 years. The bottom end of the sentencing is also a serious problem for the defendant in this Nassau County DUI case. DUI Manslaughter charges have a minimum mandatory prison sentence of four years in prison – as do leaving the scene of an accident. If the charges are not ultimately combined, the driver could be looking at a minimum of eight years in state prison.
Typically, in Nassau County DUI Cases like this where a person is killed, charges will come four to six months later, once the toxicology results come back from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement that would confirm the driver was impaired. This delay from the April 2013 crash to the charges in February 2015 is certainly longer than usual – which brings into question how much evidence the state has in this Nassau County DUI Case. It’s unclear whether the woman was arrested at the scene for DUI that night. That would have been the point where police have some ability to prove the driver was intoxicated. When drivers are involved in an accident with injuries and alcohol is suspected to be a factor, police can take blood to determine exactly the amount of alcohol in the drivers’ system. While drivers have the right to refuse a breath test or field sobriety test if they are pulled over for DUI, that right is gone when injuries are involved. Blood tests are also seen as being more accurate, which are tougher to argue against at trial.
There are very specific rules and procedures police must follow when making arrests in Nassau County DUI Cases. Our Nassau County Criminal Defense Attorney is well-versed in DUI procedures and will thoroughly investigate the case against you or your loved one to ensure all of those policies were followed to the letter of the law.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Nassau County DUI Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.