How Serious Is My Family Member’s Pinellas County DUI Manslaughter Charge



If you have a loved one that was recently charged with the felony offense of DUI Manslaughter in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, or the surrounding areas of Pinellas County, you are likely greatly concerned with what the future is going to look like and how serious the consequences can be. It goes without saying that DUI Manslaughter is a very serious offense and, if convicted, can result in years in the Florida Department of Corrections.

The Florida Criminal Punishment Code Sentencing Guidelines

In Florida, the legislature has enacted a “scoring” system to establish a range of possible punishments that an individual could face for any felony offense. The guidelines take into consideration the seriousness of the offense in question, prior record, victim injury or death, and a number of other factors to determine the possible range of sentences.

Assuming that your family member has no prior record and is facing the single charge of DUI Manslaughter, the Florida Criminal Punishment Code Sentencing Guidelines provide that the offense charged is a 2nd-degree felony scored as a Level 8 offense. In addition to the points for the offense, your family member would also be assessed “injury” points for the death of the alleged victim. These points are added together and then a mathematical equation is performed that results in the minimum number of months in prison that the Court can impose without departing from the sentencing guidelines. In this case, that number is 124.5 months, or just over 10 years with a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. Simply put, the stakes are very high when your loved one is charged with DUI Manslaughter.

Departures from the Sentencing Guidelines

Although the Florida Criminal Punishment Code Sentencing guidelines call for more than 10 years in prison for a Pinellas County DUI Manslaughter arrest, that does not mean that the judge must impose such a lengthy sentence. In some cases, our top-rated DUI manslaughter defense attorneys can argue to the judge that a departure from the sentencing guidelines is appropriate. Some examples of scenarios where this can be the case include:

  • The client is a “Youthful Offender”
  • The incident was isolated in nature, committed in an unsophisticated manner and the client has shown remorse
  • The need for restitution outweighs the need for incarceration

Amendments or Reductions in the Criminal Charge

Another possible way that our highly ranked Pinellas County DUI manslaughter defense lawyers can help your loved one avoid a lengthy prison sentence is by seeking an amendment in the charge. In some cases, after a thorough analysis of the discovery our team can argue to the prosecutor that a change of charge is appropriate because our client was not impaired, because he did not cause or contribute to the accident, or because of legal problems with the collection or preservation of the evidence.

A Team Approach to Defending DUI Manslaughter Offenses

There is an old saying that two heads are better than one. If you retain our highly experienced Pinellas County DUI manslaughter defense law firm, you will have the benefit of three seasoned attorneys that include:

  • Former prosecutors
  • Former Traffic Homicide Division Prosecutor
  • Certified Intoxilyzer 8000 operator
  • Certified Intoxilyzer 8000 inspector
  • NHTSA trained in field sobriety tests
  • Graduates of the National College of DUI Defense held at Harvard Law School
  • Attendee at the Drug Recognition Expert Program

If your loved one has been charged with DUI manslaughter in Pinellas County, time is of the essence. Contact our highly experienced DUI manslaughter defense team today so that we can begin building our defense. We have offices conveniently located in St. Petersburg and Clearwater and our consultations are free. Call 727.578.0303 to schedule a consultation right away.

For a free consultation with a defense attorney in St. Petersburg, please contact Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.