First Coast News is reporting that a pedestrian killed recently in a vehicle accident was only three miles from his home when he was struck by a car.
The news station is reporting that the 32-year-old was walking on Blanding Boulevard around 2 a.m. one weekend early morning when he was struck by a vehicle heading south. The news report doesn’t suggest alcohol was a factor, though the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says its investigation into the incident is ongoing.
DUI accidents in Jacksonville and throughout Florida carry steep penalties and can result not only in prison time, but also fines and fees, an ignition interlock device being installed, probation costs and other conditions. Because the penalties are so severe, an experienced Jacksonville DUI Defense Attorney must be consulted in order to ensure the rights of the accused are protected from the earliest stages of such cases.
Even if alcohol isn’t a factor, negligence can result in a charge of vehicular homicide. Vehicular homicide, according to Florida Statutes 782.071, results in the killing of someone while operating a motor vehicle in a reckless manner.
Reckless is a vague word, but typically means driving in a way that could kill someone if not controlled. Certainly, driving off the road and hitting a pedestrian or bicyclist could qualify for this charge. If convicted, the charge could result in up to 15 years in prison.
But in pedestrian-related accidents, many times it’s not the driver’s fault, regardless of whether they have been drinking or not. Certainly, if the state can prove the driver was under the influence of alcohol beyond the .08 legal blood alcohol level, that person can be charged with DUI. But even if they are under the influence and are in an accident that causes injury or death, it doesn’t mean they’re guilty of causing the crash.
At 2 a.m., a pedestrian in dark clothing can be almost impossible to see, as can a cyclist or a child who darts out into the road. Even with crisp reaction times, this can lead to an accident. Other vehicles, even those driven by sober drivers, cause accidents. So, the state must prove the accident was either the result of driving under the influence or reckless driving or negligence.
The simple fact that a person died and there was an accident isn’t enough to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person is guilty of DUI manslaughter or vehicular homicide in Jacksonville.
Either charge can carry a 15-year prison sentence, on top of the aforementioned possible penalties. The public stigma the charges carry can ruin careers and breakup families, even before a person goes to trial or faces any type of resolution to the case.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for more than a decade and is here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
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