“You understand that being under the influence, of alcohol or drugs, or both, impairs your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Therefore, it is extremely dangerous to human life to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or both. If you continue to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or both, and as a result of your driving, someone is killed, you can be charged with murder.”
In California, this is commonly referred to as the Watson Murder Admonition. It is read by the judge to a person convicted of DUI. Under California law, this person may be prosecuted for the crime of murder if he or she is ever driving while impaired, and causes an accident which results in a death.
Florida does not (yet) have such a law, but many of us believe that it is coming.
In Florida, even of the driver had prior DUI convictions, the charge would be DUI manslaughter, punishable by imprisonment up to fifteen years. In California, the same person could get life in prison.
These cases are different from other, less tragic DUI prosecutions. Defending them requires a different skill set from the more traditional DUI defenses.
There is no substitute for experience. Do not trust your loved one’s future to a lawyer who has never done this before.
Yes, a top-notch DUI manslaughter defense lawyer is expensive.
It should be.
After all, if you think hiring a professional is expensive, try hiring an amateur.