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DRIVER'S LICENSE REVOCATION
Florida Statute Section 322.271 and 322.28 provide that any DUI with Serious Bodily Injury conviction carries with it a minimum three (3) year revocation of your driver's license. DUI Serious Bodily Injury convictions that occur after having a prior driving under the influence conviction result in a revocation that depends on the number of prior convictions and timing issues. For a second driving under the influence conviction within five (5) years of any priors, a minimum five (5) year revocation will apply. For a third DUI conviction within ten (10) years of any prior conviction, a minimum ten (10) year revocation will apply.
SARASOTA OR MANATEE COUNTY DUI CAUSING SERIOUS BODILY INJURY
The crime of "DUI Causing Serious Bodily Injury" is defined in Section 316.193(3) of the Florida Statues. The offense consists of three factual elements, which must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt: (i) The defendant drove or was in actual physical control of a vehicle; (ii) While driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle, defendant was under the influence of alcoholic beverages to the extent that his normal faculties were impaired, or had a breath/blood alcohol level of .08 or higher; and (iii) As a result of operating the vehicle, defendant caused or contributed to causing serious bodily injury.
CAUSING OR CONTRIBUTING TO INJURY
To prove the crime of DUI Causing Serious Bodily Injury in Sarasota or Manatee County Florida, the prosecution must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that you caused or contributed to causing a serious bodily injury. To be deemed a ’cause’ for purposes of the offense, you need not be the sole cause of the crash. Proof of simple negligence will suffice for a conviction. The prosecutor is not even required to prove that your drinking caused the accident.
MEANING OF SERIOUS BODILY INJURY
Under Section 316.1933(1)(b), Florida Statutes, the term “serious bodily injury” means an injury to any person, including the driver, which consists of a physical condition that: Creates a substantial risk of death; Creates a substantial risk of serious personal disfigurement; or Creates a substantial risk of protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.
PENALTIES FOR THE OFFENSE
In Florida, DUI Causing Serious Bodily Injury is classified as a third degree felony, with penalties of up to five (5) years in prison or five (5) years of probation, and a $5,000 fine. A conviction will likely also result in a restitution award to compensate the victim for his or her losses. A conviction for the offense also carries the potential for a minimum mandatory prison sentence. Under the Florida Criminal Punishment Code, DUI Causing Serious Bodily Injury is a Level 7 offense, which is given a primary offense point value of 56. Up to 40 additional points may be added to the sentencing score if the prosecution succeeds in having the alleged victim’s injuries classified as “severe.” Thus, in Florida, a total of 96 sentencing points may be assessed for a DUI with Serious Bodily Injury, resulting in a minimum mandatory prison sentence of 51 months (4 years and three months).
Your case will be filed as a felony if you caused or contributed to the serious bodily injury of another while driving under the influence of alcohol or a chemical or controlled substance with an unlawful breath or blood alcohol level and/or while your normal faculties were impaired. If you are convicted of this type of charge, you could spend up to five (5) years in the Florida State Prison and lose your driver's license for as much as three (3) years or longer.
WHAT TO EXPECT
The prosecutors first “offer of settlement” usually begins with at least a four (4) year prison term. This is so even if you have no prior criminal history.