DUI Manslaughter Charge
As John Goodman headed back to jail for allegedly trying to break his house arrest ankle monitor in October, questions arose as to why the Wellington polo mogul would try such an unsophisticated move with a DUI manslaughter conviction and 16-year prison sentence hanging over him (source, full story)
Certainly his actions — if proved intentional — would have virtually assured a trip to prison and revocation of his $7 million bond as he seeks a new trial in the case surrounding the February 2010 death of Scott Wilson. But evidence prosecutors and Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies presented at a hearing shortly after Goodman’s arrest appeared to leave little room for doubt.
Now, as Goodman is home again after Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath last week flatly rejected claims that Goodman purposely tried to demolish the device, even local attorneys who disagree about Goodman’s chances at a new trial say the idea of him trying to break free is highly unlikely.
Understanding DUI Manslaughter Charge
DUI manslaughter charges are generally brought to the table when a driver is arrested for DUI and has caused an accident that resulted in the death of another person. Although DUI manslaughter laws vary from state to state, there are two versions of vehicular manslaughter that typically apply in these DUI manslaughter cases:
- Vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence: charged when a driver was DUI and drove extremely recklessly; and
- Vehicular manslaughter with ordinary negligence: charged when a driver was DUI and violated a traffic law, but was not extremely negligent. It can also mean that a driver failed to use reasonable care to prevent injury and/or death.
If convicted of DUI manslaughter with gross negligence, a driver faces severe penalties, which typically includes at least 10 years in prison for each person killed. A DUI-manslaughter-with-ordinary-negligence conviction typically brings a sentence of up to 4 years imprisonment for each person killed.
In addition to facing long-term imprisonment, other penalties for DUI manslaughter can include heavy fines, loss of driving privileges and a felony record that can’t be expunged in most states.
The laws vary in each state, so it’s important to contact a local DUI lawyer to advise you of the current laws in your state and to explore your options to fighting your DUI manslaughter charge.
Consequences of DUI Manslaughter
Obviously, legal and financial consequences aren’t the only cost in a DUI manslaughter case. Sadly, there are countless stories of lives cut short due to drinking and driving. One error in judgment can result in life-changing circumstances for everyone involved in a DUI car accident.
Most people don’t get behind the wheel intending to hurt someone, but impaired judgment can lead to a person making bad decisions. Protect yourself-don’t put yourself in a position to be arrested for DUI and possibly receive a DUI manslaughter charge. Drinking and driving is a serious risk. If you’ve been drinking, don’t get behind the wheel.
If you are facing a DUI manslaughter charge, you’ll want a DUI attorney on your side.
West Palm Beach DUI/DWI Attorney
It is not illegal to drink and drive in Florida, so long as your blood alcohol content (BAC) is not over .08 or your normal faculties are not impaired. At the law firm of Andrew D. Stine, P.A., in West Palm Beach, we advise our clients to neither blow into a breathalyzer machine nor do a roadside test. Why give evidence to the state if you don’t have to?
If you have submitted to a breathalyzer test and failed, that is not the end of your case. The Intoxilzer 5,000 and Intoxilzer 8,000 breathalyzer machines used to measure BAC in Florida have significant problems. If you have an expert witness and an experienced attorney who can challenge the accuracy of the machine in court, the BAC evidence may be thrown out. DUI/DWI Lawyer Andrew Stine has obtained not-guilty verdicts due to machine failure for clients who have had blood alcohol levels of .229 and .227.
The most important thing in DUI/DWI cases is early intervention by your attorney. This preliminary involvement will help you avoid the consequences of a conviction, which are very serious in Florida. We will also represent you at your hearing before the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles in order to protect your right to drive.
In addition to DUI/DWI charges, we represent clients in DUI accident cases, including:
- Leaving the scene of accident with severe bodily injury
- DUI/DWI severe bodily injury
- DUI/DWI homicide
- DUI/DWI manslaughter
There are defenses in DUI accident cases, which an experienced and capable lawyer can use. Even if you made a statement to police during your arrest, our lawyers can usually get that evidence thrown out of court. Any statement you give officers cannot be used against you due to the Florida accident report privilege.
Free consultation 24/7: Call West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer Andrew D. Stine, P.A. at 561.880.4300Se habla español.