The Impact of Prior DUI Convictions on DUI Manslaughter

DUI manslaughter cases are complex and emotionally charged. One crucial factor that can potentially significantly influence the outcome of such cases is the defendant’s prior DUI convictions. If you are facing a DUI manslaughter charge, contact a DUI manslaughter attorney in Clearwater immediately.


Understanding DUI Manslaughter

DUI manslaughter is the unlawful killing of another person while operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent that their normal faculties are impaired. When convicted of DUI manslaughter, the consequences can potentially include:

  • Criminal Penalties: Florida law can impose significant criminal penalties for DUI manslaughter, most notably, substantial prison time. The Criminal Punishment Code calls for a minimum prison sentence that exceeds 10 years for DUI Manslaughter.
  • Driver’s License Suspension: A DUI manslaughter conviction can result in the suspension of the defendant’s driver’s license for life.
  • Civil Liability: In addition to criminal penalties, DUI manslaughter can lead to civil lawsuits from the victim’s family seeking compensation for their loss.


Factors Influencing Sentencing

Sentencing in DUI manslaughter cases depends on several factors, including the defendant’s criminal history:

Aggravating Factors

  • Repeat Offender Status: When a defendant has a history of DUI convictions, it will undoubtedly be viewed as a pattern of reckless behavior. Prosecutors may use this to argue for harsher penalties.
  • Elevated Breath or Blood Alcohol Level: In cases where the breath or blood alcohol level exceeds .150 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath, the Court views such cases as aggravated.
  • Presence of Minors in Vehicle: In cases where there are minors present in the vehicle, the Court views such cases as aggravated.

Mitigating Factors

While prior DUI convictions can work against a defendant, there are also mitigating factors that can be considered to potentially reduce the severity of sentencing.

  • Rehabilitation Efforts: Demonstrating genuine efforts at rehabilitation, such as completing alcohol education programs or attending support groups, can show the court that the defendant is taking steps to address their issues.
  • Lack of Recent Offenses: If prior DUI convictions occurred in the past and the defendant has since maintained a clean record, this may be taken into account as a sign of rehabilitation.
  • Cooperation and Remorse: Expressing genuine remorse and cooperating with authorities throughout the legal process can mitigate the impact of prior convictions.


If you or a loved one is facing Clearwater DUI manslaughter charges, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for experienced and dedicated legal representation. Request a free consultation with one of our expert attorneys or give us a call today at (727) 493-9386.

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.