DUI With Serious Bodily Injury

Criminal Defense Lawyers for St. Petersburg Residents

DUI is one of the most common criminal offenses in Florida and in the country. Anyone from any profession and any background can end up with a DUI arrest, and even many criminal court judges in the state have been charged with DUI. An arrest for DUI can be a stressful and life-altering event. It is important that if it happens to you, that you understand the options on the table and fully appreciate every defense available to you. If you have been charged with DUI, consulting an experienced St. Petersburg DUI attorney can make all the difference in your case.

What many non lawyers fail to realize is that there are several different types of DUI charges. Simple DUI is defined as driving while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances to the point your normal faculties are impaired. DUI on its own is a misdemeanor offense that is punishable by no more than 180 days in jail and 12 months of probation, along with fines, court costs and several required restrictions. DUI charges, however, may be enhanced depending on whether a crash occurred, whether someone was injured as a result of the DUI, or whether someone was killed. If you have been arrested for DUI and someone suffered serious bodily injury resulting from the DUI, the charges against you could be significantly increased.

What is DUI Serious Bodily Injury?

DUI with serious bodily injury is any DUI that causes serious bodily injury to a person other than the defendant. Serious bodily injury is defined as “an injury to a person, which consists of a physical condition that creates a substantial risk of death, serious personal disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.” If you are charged with DUI serious bodily injury, the charge becomes a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison along with increased fines and probationary terms.

Another important consideration regarding DUI cases is that the Florida Legislature has required a mandatory conviction for those found guilty. In Florida, if you are found guilty of a criminal charge, you can receive a withheld adjudication or a conviction. A withheld adjudication can be sealed from your criminal record under certain circumstances. A conviction will stay on your record permanently. Because DUI serious bodily injury is a felony, if you are found guilty and receive a mandatory conviction, you will also become a convicted felon and lose many of your civil rights including the right to vote and the right to possess a firearm. These serious penalties make it all the more necessary that you retain a dedicated St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyer to counsel you.

Defenses to DUI Serious Bodily Injury

Thankfully, many defenses exist to combat this charge. Because the crime of DUI serious bodily injury is more complicated than simple DUI, more defenses are available to combat the offense. A skilled lawyer can contest the serious bodily injury designation. The definition of serious bodily injury is relatively vague, and prosecutors will charge people with this offense even when the victim suffers comparatively minor injuries. However, courts have interpreted major cuts and abrasions, and even broken bones to be NOT serious bodily injuries. Your lawyer can conduct an investigation and interpret medical records in order to determine whether or not someone actually suffered the type of injury required to charge someone under this statute.

Another aspect of this charge that is ripe for defense is causation. On a simple DUI, if you are involved in an accident, the fault for the accident is irrelevant. For example, if a sober driver is distracted by a cell phone and is 100% at fault for an accident with a drunk driver, the drunk driver can and will still be charged with DUI. However, if the sober driver is seriously injured in the crash, the drunk driver should not be charged with DUI serious bodily injury because he or she did not actually cause the injuries.

Speak to the DUI Defense Lawyers at Hanlon Law Today

The DUI Criminal defense lawyers at Hanlon Law have years of experience defending people charged with DUI. If you find yourself facing these charges, you should call us today for a consultation at (727) 897-5413.

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As a practicing attorney, I was shocked to hear that a family member of mine was alleged to have committed a sex crime. Knowing full well the consequences this type of allegation can have on anyone and their future, I immediately reached out to William Hanlon for help. I had every confidence that Mr. Hanlon had the knowledge, expertise, and experience to handle this problem. Approximately 4 weeks from an initial conference with Mr. Hanlon, we received a call with the news that a letter of release was being issued and the case was being dropped. Now my family member can finally exhale, take a deep breath, and go on with his life. Thank you, William! Jerry
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I was facing a charge that if convicted would carry two years in prison minimally. Not only was he empathetic and listening to what I had to say but he arranged with the prosecutor for my charges not to be filed under terms of a pre trial investigation. Would highly recommend. Alec
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Mr. Hanlon did what no other lawyer could do. Not only did he turn my criminal history into a thing of the past so I could move on, he was a loyal associate. No matter how bad the situation is, he has miraculously cleared me on every charge since he became my lawyer 5 years ago. I have the best lawyer that the legal system has to offer. I have had other really good lawyers try to get my business, but I know that no one can do a better job than William Hanlon. Jesse