According to the Gainesville Sun, a 25 year-old Chiefland man was arrested with minor injuries after he allegedly struck another vehicle leaving the driver of that vehicle hospitalized. To make matters worse, the charges also allege that he not only committed Driving Under the Influence, but he allegedly left the scene of the accident and did not have a valid Florida Driver’s License.
Florida Highway Patrol has indicated that the driver, and future Levy county Defendant, was spotted weaving in and out of his lane before hitting the victim’s car. The accident occurred in between Bronson and Williston on Alternate U.S. 27.
The defendant will soon learn that he potentially faces multiple Levy County charges. To start with, the defendant’s car had one passenger and the victim’s vehicle had three passengers. That means that he could potentially could face one count of DUI with injury for each passenger, four counts in total. Further, the injuries of the victim driver appear to be serious, therefore it is likely he could face DUI with Serious Bodily Injury, a third degree felony under Florida law. In order to prove this enhanced DUI charge, the prosecutors will be obligated to show a nexus between the drinking and driving and the injuries sustained, i.e. that the “drunk driving” of the defendant caused the accident, thus creating the injuries– rather than some other contributing force or conduct of the other driver themselves.
Secondly, the defendant could face the charge of Leaving the Scene of an Accident (LSA). Like DUI, LSA is normally charged as a first degree misdemeanor, however, LSA can also have a felony enhancement due to the severity of the accident, since reports are that he fled the scene. If the accident involves injuries, the State Attorney’s Office can file the third degree felony charge of Leaving the Scene of an Accident with injuries. A third degree felony can expose an individual up to a maximum of five years State prison. In order to prove LSA with injuries, the State prosecutors will need to prove:
1) Criminal Defendant was the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury; and
2) Criminal Defendant knew or should have known that he was involved in the accident; and
3) Criminal Defendant knew or should have known that the victim was injured; and
4) Criminal Defendant either willfully failed to stop and render assistance and/or did not leave any indentifying information to law enforcement/ victim/ etc.
Lastly, the defendant could potentially face the second degree misdemeanor charge of No Valid Drivers License (NVDL). This charge appears to be the least of his worries, but it certainly will not be missed by the presiding Levy County Judge or prosecutor and could allow the court to sentence him to more prison and/or jail time time.
If your or a loved one has been charged with DUI, LSA, NVDL or any Levy County Florida Crime – contact Gainesville Criminal Defense Attorney Whittel & Melton, LLC toll-free at 1-866-608-5LAW(5529) or contact us online.