The case we wrote about in our previous post was a DUI manslaughter case near Jacksonville, Florida that involved some interesting legal issues. A crash occurred at about 1:00 a.m. involving two vehicles. The victim’s vehicle was forced off of the road into a canal. The defendant initially fled the scene of the crash, but he did return about an hour later. However, he never checked on the status of the victim. There were issues surrounding the blood draw and whether the state could force a person to give blood for alcohol testing without consent and without a search warrant.
Another interesting issue was discussed in this DUI case. DUI manslaughter is obviously a serious charge. It is a second degree felony in Florida, which means a person can get sentenced to up to 15 years in prison if convicted. We have heard of judges giving those sentences, or close to it, for the more egregious DUI manslaughter cases. A DUI manslaughter can become even more serious if the suspect does not render aid to the victim after the crash. In that case, the DUI manslaughter charge goes from a second degree felony to a first degree felony, which is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
It is not clear what exactly the term “render aid” entails. If the suspect has no medical training, there is only so much he/she can do to help an injured victim and there is only so much that person should try to do in order to not make things worse. At a minimum, we can assume rendering aid means staying at the scene, checking on the victim and calling for an ambulance as soon as possible. If the victim has an obvious emergency that can be handled by the suspect, the suspect probably needs to try and alleviate that problem.