DUI Serious Bodily Injury
Getting arrested for DUI alone can be one of the most stressful experiences that a person can go through. The draconian mandatory penalties, the license suspensions and the stiff fines can cause serious hardships and headaches. Usually though, a DUI is a once-in-a-lifetime event that is not the end of the world. Real problems arise when a DUI crash results in a person receiving serious bodily injuries. If you have been charged with DUI involving serious bodily injury, it is critical that you contact a zealous Clearwater DUI attorney to evaluate your case immediately.Elements if DUI Serious Bodily Injury
For the most part, the elements of DUI with serious bodily injury mirror those of a standard misdemeanor DUI. The state must prove that while operating a motor vehicle, the driver was under the influence of alcohol or another controlled substance to the point that his or her normal faculties are impaired. A blood or breath alcohol level of .08 is considered to be evidence that a driver’s normal faculties are legally impaired. If the state also proves that, as a result of driving under the influence, the driver caused serious bodily injury to another, the driver can face a third degree felony punishable by up to three years in prison.
Typically when arrested for a DUI, drivers are given a choice to submit to a breath alcohol test to determine the alcoholic content of their breath. If an investigator has reason to believe that a person suffered serious bodily injury as a result of the impaired driver’s actions, a different law applies that gives the police broader powers. In this situation, police are allowed to force the accused to submit to a blood test. Florida statute 316.1933 additionally allows officers to use reasonable physical force to compel the driver to submit to a blood sample. These additional powers make it easier for law enforcement officers to collect inculpatory evidence from an accused driver. You should speak to a qualified Clearwater DUI attorney as soon as possible if you are ever faced with this situation.Defending DUI Serious Bodily Injury Charges
The first step in defending a driver accused of DUI serious bodily injury is to examine the claimed injuries themselves. Courts have provided guidance about what constitutes a serious bodily injury under this statute. Although what constitutes a serious bodily injury is determined on a case by case basis, courts have held that even broken bones might not qualify as a serious bodily injury under the statute. Police and prosecutors will be quick to charge someone who claims serious bodily injuries even when the injuries are minor.
An experienced DUI attorney will be able to review the medical records and conduct an investigation to determine the extend of injuries involved. Inexperienced lawyers too often take the investigator’s and prosecutors at their word and fail to adequately examine the records to determine whether injuries really are serious under the legal standard.
Another defense available to defendants is that of causation. In a simple DUI case involving an accident, arguing about who caused the accident is irrelevant. If another driver is 100% at fault for an accident but the innocent driver is suspected of DUI, that person can still be arrested and prosecuted for drunk driving. However, in a DUI serious bodily injury case, causation is an essential element to the crime. Many of these types of cases have been won or reduced to lesser offenses by attorneys who are able to prove that the injured driver is the one who caused the accident and therefore caused their own injuries. It is important to remember that the prosecution has the burden to prove both that a driver was impaired AND that the defendant caused the accident which resulted in injuries in order to prove the case.Consult a Dedicated DUI Lawyer Today
The attorneys at Hanlon Law have the knowledge and experience to defend you in even the most complex DUI case. If you or a loved one has been charged with DUI, DUI with Serious Bodily Injury or DUI with death, you should contact the experienced Clearwater DUI attorneys at Hanlon Law today. You can reach us at 727.897.5414.