DUI with Serious Bodily Injury
Driving under the influence (DUI) laws were largely passed in hopes of eliminating or at least reducing the number of people injured or killed by drivers operating motor vehicles while intoxicated. Many DUI arrests are the result of routine traffic stops that do not involve accidents, but drunk driving becomes a felony offense when a motorist is accused of having caused or contributed to causing serious bodily injury.
DUI cases involving serious bodily injuries can be very difficult to defend because authorities are authorized by state law to draw the blood of the alleged offenders (even without consent). In addition to steep criminal penalties, alleged offenders in these cases can also be subject to civil claims for monetary damages.
Lawyer for DUI with Serious Bodily Injury Arrests in Brooksville, FL
If you were recently arrested in Central Florida for an alleged DUI offense involving serious bodily injury, you should avoid making any kind of statement to authorities until you have legal representation. Ashley M. Aulls, P.A. aggressively defends clients accused of drunk driving in several areas in and around Hernando County, including Spring Hill, Wildwood, Brooksville, Weeki Wachee, New Port Richey, Inverness, and many others.
Brooksville criminal defense attorney Ashley Aulls can conduct a thorough investigation and fight to possibly get the criminal charges reduced or dismissed. You can have our lawyer review your case and discuss all of your legal options during a free, confidential consultation as soon as you call (352) 593-4115 today.
Florida DUI with Serious Bodily Injury Information Center
- When can a person be charged with this crime?
- What are the consequences of being convicted of this offense?
- Where can I learn more about DUI with serious bodily injury in Brooksville?
Under Florida Statute § 316.193(3)(c), a person can be charged with DUI causing serious bodily injury to another if he or she is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle in Florida while he or she is either under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance, or any controlled substance, when affected to the extent that his or her normal faculties are impaired, or has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or more, and by reason of such operation, causes or contributes to causing serious bodily injury to another person.
Serious bodily injury is defined under Florida Statute § 316.1933 as being “an injury to any person, including the driver, which consists of a physical condition that creates a substantial risk of death, serious personal disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.” Alleged offenders can face additional criminal charges if they leave the scenes of accidents without giving identifying information to the alleged victim or failing to render aid.
DUI causing serious bodily injury to another is a third-degree felony offense punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000. Leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in serious bodily injury is a second-degree felony offense punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
State law also establishes certain aggravating factors that can result in enhanced penalties. If an alleged offender had a BAC of 0.15 or higher, or at the time of the offense was accompanied in the vehicle by a person under the age of 18 years, the court is directed to issue the following sentences:
- Minimum fine of $1,000 for first DUI conviction, $2,000 for second DUI conviction, or $4,000 for a third or subsequent conviction; and
- Mandatory placement, at the alleged offender’s sole expense, of an ignition interlock device upon all vehicles that are individually or jointly leased or owned and routinely operated by the alleged offender for not less than six continuous months for the first offense and for not less than two continuous years for a second offense.
A prosecutor does not need to prove that an alleged offender was the sole cause of an accident or that his or her drinking directly caused a crash. People can be convicted based on simple negligence.
In some cases, an alleged victim’s injury may not constitute a serious bodily injury. Other possible defenses often relate to how the blood tests were conducted and whether alleged offenders were actually under the influence of alcohol, a chemical substance, or a controlled substance.
State v. Witcher, 737 So. 2d 584 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1999) — On June 25, 1999, the First District Court of Appeal affirmed an order dismissing the appellee’s felony offenses of DUI causing serious bodily injury to another in circuit court on double jeopardy grounds, based on his earlier guilty plea to a simple DUI misdemeanor charge in county court arising from the same traffic accident. The man crashed into a telephone pole in March 1997 and the county court issued an arrest warrant for misdemeanor DUI that summer, but when he entered his guilty plea to the misdemeanor offense in county court on October 20, 1997, two cases were still pending: one in county court for simple misdemeanor DUI and one in circuit court for felony DUI by causing serious bodily injury to another. The Court of Appeal wrote:
Simple DUI is a continuing offense for which only one conviction may be maintained for each episode. See State v. Lamoureux, 660 So. 2d 1063 (Fla. 2d DCA 1995), approved, 679 So. 2d 1184 (Fla.1996); Michie v. State, 632 So. 2d 1106 (Fla. 2d DCA 1994). And because simple DUI is a necessarily lesser included offense to felony DUI causing serious bodily injury to another, the county court's adjudication of the misdemeanor offense concluded the case against Witcher. The principle of double jeopardy prohibited the state from continuing to pursue the felony charges in circuit court. See Chikitus v. Shands, 373 So. 2d 904 (Fla.1979).
Florida Standard Jury Instructions | Chapter 28: Transportation Offenses — Visit this website to view the full text of standard jury instructions given to Florida juries for various transportation offenses, including Driving Under the Influence Causing Serious Bodily Injury and Leaving the Scene of a Crash Involving Death or Injury. The instructions include definitions, elements that need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and applicable defenses. It is important to note that standard jury instructions are rarely used verbatim, but they still provide a helpful understanding of what juries will be asked to consider.
Ashley M. Aulls, P.A. | Brooksville DUI with Serious Bodily Injury Lawyer
Do you think that you might be under investigation or were you already arrested for an alleged DUI causing serious bodily injury in Central Florida? It is in your best interest to not say anything to authorities until you have contacted Ashley M. Aulls, P.A..
Ashley Aulls is a criminal defense attorney in Brooksville who represents clients in numerous areas throughout Sumter County, Pasco County, Hernando County, and Citrus County. Call (352) 593-4115 or submit an online contact form today to receive a free consultation that will let our lawyer provide a complete evaluation of your case.