A 45-year-old Lithia, FL man was charged with DUI-manslaughter Tuesday night after the pickup truck he was driving allegedly collided with a Honda that burst into flames and killed the driver.
According to deputies, the man was driving a 2001 Ford F250 around 11 p.m. Tuesday night when he supposedly smashed into the back of the Honda causing it to ignite into flames and land in a roadside ditch.
The driver of the Honda was pronounced dead at the scene.
The man allegedly refused to submit to a blood-alcohol test. He remained in the Hillsborough County Jail this morning and no bail has been set.
In a traditional DUI case, a driver has the right to refuse a blood, breath or urine test. However, there are some instances when an officer can administer a blood-alcohol test without permission from the driver. In the state of Florida, a person accused of DUI-manslaughter is required by law to comply with a blood test and if refused, officers have the right to forcibly withdraw blood. They are also granted permission to withdraw blood from someone who is unconscious. By its very definition breath and blood tests are inaccurate and do not accurately represent the driver’s true blood alcohol content at the time of an accident or while a defendant is driving, as required by law.
A driver who is accused of driving drunk and causing a fatal car wreck will most likely face DUI manslaughter charges. DUI manslaughter is considered a second-degree felony under Florida law and is punishable by a maximum of 15 years in state prison. In a DUI manslaughter case, the State must prove that the defendant’s impairment had a connection or nexus to the fatal accident. Florida law enforcement officers will immediately conduct their own investigation of the crash; this is usually done by a Traffic Homicide Investigator who takes measurements of the accident scene to determine its cause.
It is important for you to contact the skilled Florida DUI Manslaughter Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton immediately following your arrest for DUI-manslaughter so that we can retain our own expert to reconstruct the scene of the alleged crime to potentially show possible defenses that exist for your specific case. The outcome of your case depends on early action by your criminal defense attorney so that any evidence that can protect your freedom is preserved.
If you have been charged with DUI-manslaughter in Tampa, elsewhere in Hillsborough County or throughout the state of Florida, contact the Florida DUI Lawyers at the Law Offices of Whittel & Melton, LLC online or reach us at our Tampa office at 813-221-3200 or call us toll-free at 1-866-608-5LAW (5529).