Can You Go To Jail For Accidentally Killing Someone In A Car Accident In Florida?

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Florida motorists face an uncertain future when a car accident claims the life of another. These accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, and those charged may find themselves facing vehicular homicide charges. They likely have many questions about upcoming legal proceedings when this type of tragedy occurs. Can you go to jail for accidentally killing someone in a car accident? What are your plea options? Our experienced Winter Haven car accident attorneys at JustCallMoe stand ready to answer these questions and provide Florida drivers with the representation they need after a car accident ends in the death of another.

What Is Vehicular Manslaughter?

Florida law defines vehicular manslaughter as operating a vehicle in a way that causes the death of a person or an unborn child. This includes individuals who die later on at a hospital as well as at the scene of the accident. These accidents happen in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Racing or speeding
  • Driving under the influence
  • Distracted driving

When our attorneys review these cases, they will advise accused drivers of their rights regarding the case and what types of punishments they may face after vehicular manslaughter.

What Happens If You Kill Someone In a Car Accident?

When a car accident in Florida ends in death, those accused will likely face arrest and transportation to a local jail.

Depending on the circumstances of the accident, a judge may set bail during the arraignment hearing.

Drivers who have previous convictions, such as former DUI charges and multiple counts of reckless driving, may face heavier fines and the permanent suspension of their driver’s license in the wake of a vehicular manslaughter conviction.

Is Vehicular Manslaughter a Felony In Florida?

When someone dies in a Florida car accident caused by another person, the circumstances of the accident can affect the charges and raise more questions. Can you go to jail for killing someone in a car accident? Can you receive jail time as well as a fine? An accidental death is a felony in the state and the base charges may include up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Other circumstances may increase these charges.

Failing to stop and render aid

Florida also recognizes an enhanced form of vehicular homicide that occurs when the driver in a vehicular homicide fails to provide an ID or driver’s license or fails to render aid at the accident scene. This type of vehicular homicide is punished by up to 30 years in prison. Some hit-and-run drivers who do not stop at the scene do so out of panic or because they do not have a driver’s license or any insurance.

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

Drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident may face even more severe penalties, including a mandatory minimum sentence of four years in prison.

Previous DUI arrests

Drivers involved in a car accident that ends the life of another may face enhanced charges if they have previous DUI convictions. In Florida, adult drunk drivers must have a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher before being charged with a DUI.

Failing the duty of care to other drivers

All Florida drivers owe a duty of care to motorists. For example, drivers who take prescription medication have the responsibility of knowing how those drugs might affect them and whether they might become drowsy behind the wheel. This type of negligence puts other drivers in danger.

DUI and Causation

When a car accident causes the death of another in Florida and the accused also faces a DUI charge, causation typically comes into play. Prosecutors use causation to support a variety of claims on behalf of their clients, such as:

  • The defendant’s actions and choices caused the accident.
  • The accident led directly to the death of an individual or unborn child.
  • There was no proximate cause that reduced the defendant’s liability.

Proximate cause usually involves a third party. For instance, if a defendant is legally drunk behind the wheel but a pedestrian darts out between two cars and the driver swerves head-on into an oncoming car to avoid the person on foot, one could argue that the pedestrian’s actions caused the car accident, even though the defendant was driving under the influence.

What Are Some Advantages of Hiring an Attorney for a Vehicular Manslaughter Case?

Those facing jail time or fines after accidentally killing someone in a car accident require professional legal counsel to guide them before and during any trial proceedings. Hiring one of our experienced Florida attorneys provides these individuals with peace of mind as they face an uncertain future.

Protecting case privacy

Car accident cases that involve a death require a great deal of protection from the public, family members of the deceased and even well-meaning friends. Our attorneys will advise you regarding any statements you want to make.

Complete representation

Other professionals, such as insurance agents and inspectors, ask plenty of questions when a car accident ends in a death. Our attorneys protect their clients on all levels, including representing their best interests when answering questions regarding liability.

Knowledge and experience

Vehicular manslaughter cases in Florida require a deep understanding of state laws and statutes. This knowledge, combined with experience in court, can result in a more satisfactory outcome.

What Are Punitive Damages?

Drivers involved in an accidental death charge in court may face punitive damages as well as other losses the plaintiff claims. Judges may hand down punitive damages to punish repeat offenders or if their actions seem especially negligent or reckless.

Bring Us Your Accidental Death Case Today

Car accidents in Florida that cause the death of another bring up many questions for those accused. Can you go to jail for accidentally killing someone in a car accident? Will there be a trial? What is the best way to find legal representation? Contact us today and let our car accident attorneys at JustCallMoe answer these and many other questions during a free initial consultation.

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