February-09-066Early in January, Kandace Tapia, was a passenger in a truck driven by Karen Juarez. The women, both in their early 20s, did not start their night out with a second’s thought as to the disastrous way it would end.

Driving down Interstate 4 around midnight, Juarez crashed her 2006 Ford F-150 into a concrete barrier. Two hours after the crash, her blood alcohol content was measured at 0.074.

As the truck struck the barrier, it flipped, rolling several times before landing and coming to a stop. While rolling, Tapia was ejected from the vehicle, being the only passenger in the truck not wearing a seat belt.

Tapia was transported to Tampa General Hospital where she ultimately succumbed to her injuries. Jaurez, originally charged with DUI, has now been charged for manslaughter.

It is important to understand that drinking and driving does not only result in a DUI. While that charge may be stressful enough for most, imagine being charged with killing a friend or loved one. In Tampa, there are several subsections to the DUI law.

DUI Manslaughter
When your impaired driving causes the death of a viable fetus or human being, you can be charged and convicted of DUI Manslaughter. In Florida, this is a second-degree felony that is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. You will also face the permanent loss of your license and a $10,000 fine. Should you choose to flee the scene of the accident, the felony is bumped up to one of the first-degree.

DUI with Serious Bodily Injury
If your impaired driving causes serious bodily injury to any person, your DUI charge will be a third-degree felony. You will be faced with five years in prison and/or probation. You will also face license suspension and steep fines. You may also find yourself required to pay the injured person’s medical bills, lost wagers, and other compensatory damages.

DUI with Property Damage
If you damage someone’s property, but do not cause the death of or injury to another person, your DUI remains a misdemeanor. You may, however, be faced with the requirement to make restitution as part of your court-ordered sentence.

If you have been charged with a DUI, no matter the severity, you need a knowledgeable attorney on your side. Contact our offices immediately to speak with someone who can represent you. We have defended thousands of DUI cases and we know how to help you.

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