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Florida Residents Convicted of DUI Manslaughter See Widely Varying Sentences, Accident Victims’ Families Have Effect

Earlier this year, a 20-year-old woman was convicted of DUI manslaughter after killing two teens. Shortly before the fatal accident, the woman tweeted “2 drunk 2 care” to her boyfriend. The judge hearing the case sentenced her to 24 years in prison, in part due to the callousness of her behavior. However, according to one local Florida news source, sentences handed down for DUI manslaughter are not often this severe, and they vary widely depending on a number of circumstances.

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Another example mentioned in the article presents the other end of the spectrum. A single mother of two who suffered a history of domestic violence was sentenced to just four years in jail after she hit and killed a pedestrian while she was out on bail for a DUI manslaughter charge. To make matters worse, she allegedly fled the scene of the second accident before getting caught. However, the judge was swayed by the equities in the case and was lenient on the woman.

One final example was of a professional NFL player who hit and killed a pedestrian in a drunk driving accident. The pedestrian was not in the crosswalk at the time of the accident, which created some uncertainty as to whether the driver would ultimately be convicted. The NFL player was convicted but sentenced to just 30 days in jail and a lengthy period of probation. It later came out that the accident victim’s family was in favor of the deal and had received an undisclosed settlement from the drunk driver.

The Roles of Victims’ Families in DUI Cases

The family of DUI manslaughter victims can choose to play a role in the criminal trial of the person charged with the death of their loved one, or they can choose to remain out of it completely. If they do choose to involve themselves in the process, it is likely that they will have some influence on the ultimate sentence, if the driver is convicted.

In addition to a victim’s family’s role in criminal trials, they may also file their own lawsuit against the allegedly drunk driver, seeking monetary compensation for their loss. These lawsuits, filed under the legal theory of negligence, rely on the duty of care that all drivers owe to those around them. This duty, of course, requires drivers to remain safe and sober at all times.

Proving a drunk driving case against a driver can be straightforward or complex, depending on the surrounding circumstances. Regardless, there are certain deadlines that cannot be missed and other procedural requirements that must be complied with in order to preserve a family’s right to recover for their loss. To learn more, contact a dedicated South Florida personal injury attorney.

Have You Lost a Loved One in a Florida DUI Accident?

If you have recently lost a loved one in a Florida auto accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation based on the driver’s negligence in getting behind the wheel while under the influence. The skilled advocates at the South Florida personal injury law firm of Cecere Santana have ample experience in personal injury litigation, and we know what it takes to bring a winning case on behalf of their clients. To schedule a free consultation with an attorney, call 800-753-5529 today.

See More Blog Posts:

Coral Springs Motorcycle Accident Kills One, Injures Another, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published June 9, 2015.

Two Motorcycle Accidents in Palm Beach County Leaves One Man Dead and Another in Serious Condition, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published July 9, 2015.

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