A Jacksonville man was sentenced to 20 years in state prison for a DUI crash that killed one person and seriously injured two others. The crash occurred in 2013 when a man was driving the wrong way on a Jacksonville interstate and crashed head-on into a vehicle with three people inside, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The driver was convicted earlier this summer of DUI manslaughter and two counts of DUI causing serious bodily injury, the newspaper reported. In Jacksonville DUI Cases, DUI Manslaughter is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in state prison. The charge also carries a minimum mandatory sentence of four years in state prison, but the minimum was far exceeded by the judge in this Jacksonville DUI Case. Each count of DUI causing serious bodily injury is a third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of up to five years in state prison.
Unless a person has a long history of DUI convictions, Jacksonville DUI Cases are typically misdemeanors. That changes when there are serious injuries involved. Another element that changes in Jacksonville DUI Cases involving injuries is the mean by which police can check the blood alcohol level of the driver. In a traditional DUI case when a driver is pulled over by police, the driver may choose not to do field sobriety exercises or to take a breath test. Those decisions will result in an arrest, but they do limit the amount of evidence the state has to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. However, when there are serious injuries, police are legally allowed to take the blood of the driver – whether he or she provides consent or not. That is one reason there is less ambiguity in Jacksonville DUI Cases with serious injuries or death – and a reason why many of the cases do not end up in trial. The state simply needs to prove that the driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident that caused serious injury or death and the blood test proves that one way or the other. But one reason cases like this do end up in trial is because the state may have ended negotiations or offered a sentence so severe that the defendant chose to just take the case to trial. The sentence in this Jacksonville DUI Case, though, is likely more than what the state was offering before the trial. There are strict policies and procedures that must be followed when police make stops and arrests in Jacksonville DUI Cases. Our Jacksonville DUI Attorney knows those procedures inside and out, and will thoroughly investigate your case to determine if they were properly followed.
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 Duval County DUI Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.