A 72-year-old Miami man who prosecutors say fatally struck and killed a popular businessman on the Dolphin Expressway will serve 10 years in prison, followed by another decade of probation - by which time he will be 92 years old.
Our Miami defense attorneys understand that in cases like this, there are no winners. Even when a defendant gets a reduced sentence, as this one did, there is little joy in it.
These scenarios often unfold so quickly. They're not intentional. And while many people want to believe they would do the right thing, it's hard to know what you would do unless you're actually placed in that situation.
What we work to do is ensure that your rights are protected. We want to thoroughly vet all of the prosecution's evidence - from the blood alcohol testing to the accident reconstruction to the eyewitness testimony. There may have been a multitude of factors contributing to a fatal crash, and you may not be responsible for all or any of them.
In this case, the defendant agreed to plead guilty prior to trial to two felony charges - DUI manslaughter and failure to render aid - in exchange for a reduced sentence. According to FL Statute 316.193, he committed a second-degree felony and a first-degree felony, which carry prison terms of 15 to 30 years. In this case, that would have been a life sentence, and the court likely realized it.
According to police records, the victim, co-owner of a family-run hurricane shutter business, had pulled over on the side of the highway near an exit to change a flat tire. Prosecutors allege it was at this time that the elderly defendant veered off the road as he drove his Ford F-250 truck. He reportedly struck the victim and then did not stop.
The highway patrol located the defendant at his nearby home a short time later.
The primary reason behind so many hit-and-runs is fear. Or maybe a better word is panic. In that split moment, you aren't thinking clearly. Often, people don't realize just how serious the accident is. They just know that if they are questioned by authorities, they will likely be facing an arrest for DUI or driving under a suspended license.
You should know that in Florida, penalties for hit-and-run are far more serious than either a DUI or a suspended license charge - particularly if the person you hit was severely injured or killed. Even if you are intoxicated and the other party has been severely hurt or killed, you will face lesser penalties if you stay.
Keep in mind too it's a very rare occasion that someone is able to successfully evade authorities for very long.
You don't have to give a statement to police and, in fact, if you are intoxicated, you shouldn't - at least not before talking first with your attorney.
If you have questions about your pending criminal case, call us immediately.