A student awaiting trial on Miami DUI manslaughter charges in the death of a grandmother has made news on her request to volunteer at a local festival to fulfill her community service hours.
Our Miami DUI manslaughter attorneys understand that in these cases, both defense attorneys and their clients must be sensitive to the family of the individual who was killed. DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide, as defined in Florida Statute 316.193 (3), are already serious enough without drawing further negative attention to the defendant.
This is true regardless of whether you are actually guilty. Those facts will be hammered out at trial or in a plea bargain with the help of an experienced attorney. But the public is always going to be sympathetic to someone who has suffered a loss, so any perceived insensitivity on the part of the defendant isn't going to help.
The law requires that someone convicted of a DUI manslaughter or vehicular homicide (often differentiated from one another by whether alcohol was involved) can receive a prison sentence of up to 15 years and fines of up to $10,000. In either case, if you leave the scene of an accident, the penalties are doubled, and you could face up to 30 years in prison.
In this case, the 19-year-old defendant is facing up to 20 years behind bars. In addition to the manslaughter charge, she is also facing a charge of carrying a false driver's license.
According to The Miami Herald, the University of Miami student was supposed to be the designated driver on Oct. 2, 2011. But authorities in Coral Gables say she had an alcohol toxicity level of nearly triple the legal limit when she struck a 68-year-old woman, killing her. Authorities believe the teen was also speeding at the time of the wreck, which occurred on Majorca Avenue and LeJeune Road. The grandmother of seven was on her way home from work.
While the student awaits her trial, she has been placed on house arrest, though she has been allowed to continue with her education.
In order to fulfill community service hours for school, the teen made a request - through her attorney - to serve those hours at the Ultra Music Festival in Bayfront Park. Reportedly, she would be cooking with The Cordon Bleu in order to satisfy the education requirement.
However, the move sparked a whirlwind of outrage from the public after the prosecutors objected to the nature of the volunteer gig, saying it was extremely insensitive considering the charges she is facing. The festival apparently well-known for its availability and wide consumption of alcohol.
The attorney later withdrew that request and issued a formal apology for the inconsideration.
In addition to the criminal charges, the teen is facing a multi-million dollar civil lawsuit filed by the grandmother's family.
If you, a family member or other loved one is arrested on suspicion of DUI in Miami, West Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale, contact Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Carlos Canet today at 1-866-727-5384 to discuss your rights.