Many Floridians consume alcohol and then operate a motor vehicle. That choice is seen by a few as low risk because the penalties for drunk driving may not seem overly harsh. (The penalty for a first DUI/DWI offense is a fine of not less than $500 and probation and incarceration for no more than one year.) This calculation can be ruined, however, if a drunk driver has an accident resulting in death or serious bodily injury. A resident of Plant City learned this lesson on the Fourth of July weekend.
The Plant City man was driving his 2000 Nissan Maxima. When he failed to heed a red traffic light, he collided with a motorcycle being driven by an Ohio resident. When police arrived at the scene, the Plant City man attempted to flee on foot. An officer chased him and ultimately apprehended him. The cyclist was taken to a nearby hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.
After being apprehended, the Nissan driver was charged with several crimes, including manslaughter, DUI, leaving the scene of a crash involving a fatality and driving with no license. The penalty for manslaughter involving a DUI violation and leaving the scene of the accident can result in a fine of not more than $10,000 and 15 years imprisonment. The status of the criminal proceeding was not disclosed.
The defendant in this case is obviously facing very serious criminal charges. He is, however, entitled to be presumed innocent unless and until he is found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Anyone facing similar charges may benefit from a consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer can provide a useful analysis of the facts and law of the case and an estimate of the likelihood of obtaining a favorable plea agreement or an outright acquittal.
Source: Villages-News, “Drunk driver arrested in death of Ohio motorcyclist,” July 4, 2017