News reports are indicating that a local dentist, while driving over the Harbour Island Bridge around 2 a.m. this morning, lost control of his Cadillac SUV and killed two pedestrians while injuring another. Currently we know the driver is charged with two counts of Vehicular Homicide, two counts of DUI Manslaughter, DUI with personal injury and/or property damage and Battery on a Law Enforcement Official.
The defendant has currently been issued a $19,000 bond on all charges except for the two DUI Manslaughter counts, where he remains in custody in Hillsborough County Jail with no bond. We would expect the defendant’s bond status to be quickly addressed by the attorney who is assigned to this case.
Due to the likelihood of long, drawn-out litigation, it is important to get a resolution to the defendant’s custody status immediately. Specifically, the dentist’s attorney will need to motion the court for a determination of a bond amount in the two DUI Manslaughter counts in order to achieve pre-trial release.
It is all but a certainty that this case will quickly turn on three major factors. First, Florida prosecutors are going to work around the clock to obtain the results of any breath or blood results in this case. It is undetermined at this time which type of test was relied on in making a charging decision this matter. Further, and probably more importantly, the court will be interested in whether the results obtained, if any, were obtained through reliable procedures and taken with properly maintained instruments, such as a Intoxilyzer. The third major issue, will be determining whether there is a nexus between the actual death of the victims and the defendant’s alleged impairment. It is important to note that if the prosecutors are unable to show that the DUI was the actual cause of the fatality then a DUI Manslaughter charge would be inappropriate. The dentist may still have a misdemeanor DUI to defend, but the lack of connection to the cause of the deaths would be the hole in the prosecution’s case.
If you or a loved one is charged with DUI Manslaughter, Vehicular Manslaughter, or any DUI related crime in Florida, contact the Florida DUI Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton by phone, 813-221-3200 or online.