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DUI Causing Serious Bodily Injury

Fort Lauderdale Lawyer for Drunk Driving Charges

Although there has been an increase in drunk driving education over the last several decades, drunk driving continues to occur. Sometimes it results in serious or catastrophic injuries that can have lifetime consequences. A drunk driver may injure a passenger traveling in his own car, or injure the driver or passengers occupying another car with whom the drunk driver collided. If you are charged with a DUI causing serious bodily injury, you should be aware these are felony charges. Under these circumstances, it is important to retain a skilled Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney.

DUI Causing Serious Bodily Injury in Broward County

In order to secure a conviction for DUI causing serious bodily injury under Florida Statutes section 316.193(3), the prosecuting attorney must be able to show beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) you drove or were in actual physical control of your car, (2) while operating the car, you were under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances such that your usual driving abilities were impacted or you had a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or more, (3) your driving caused or was a reason for serious bodily injury.

In order to be considered a cause of the serious bodily injury, your actions don’t need to be the only causal factor in an accident. It is enough for the prosecutor to show your actions led to the crash in some way. Simply deviating from the standard of care is enough.

Reasonable Force to Draw Blood

Under section 316.1933, police officers with probable cause to believe a motor vehicle driven by or in the control of someone under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs caused another person serious bodily injury are allowed to exercise reasonable force when this is needed to do a blood draw. The blood test is supposed to be done in a reasonable manner, but the testing required need not be incidental to a legal arrest.

Only a doctor, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, or someone else authorized to draw blood can draw your blood for purposes of determining inebriation. The failure of police officers to ask for the withdrawal of blood won’t affect whether a blood test withdrawn for medical purposes is admissible.

If a health care provider is treating a patient who was injured in a motor vehicle crash and realizes through a blood test taken while giving care that the person’s blood alcohol concentration is at or greater than .08%, the health care provider can let the police know, notwithstanding confidentiality rules. The notice is supposed to be given within a reasonable time after the doctor or other provider gets the test result; the purpose of the notice is so that the police can ask for withdrawal of a blood sample under section 316.1933.

What Counts as a Serious Bodily Injury?

Serious bodily injury is defined under section 316.1933(1)(b) as one that involves a physical condition that generates a significant risk of death, or creates a significant risk that the use of a body part or organ will be lost or impaired.

Penalties

Usually a DUI causing serious bodily injury is treated as a third degree felony. That means if you are convicted, you can face a maximum incarceration term or probation term of 5 years and a fine of $5000. You may also need to pay restitution to the victim.

Convictions for a DUI causing serious bodily injury can also result in a mandatory minimum prison sentence. Mandatory minimum penalties can be especially harsh because the judge does not have discretion to depart and sentence less than what the law requires at minimum.

Consult an Experienced DUI Defense Attorney in Fort Lauderdale

If you are facing charges for a first-time or other DUI offense in Fort Lauderdale, call skillful criminal defense lawyer Evan Hoffman, principal of The Hoffman Firm. The Hoffman Firm also represents clients in areas including Pembroke Pines, Plantation, Deerfield Beach, Davie, and Sunrise. Contact us at (954) 524-4474 or via our online form for a free, confidential consultation.

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