On March 23, 2019, a hit-and-run occurred after a Fort Myers crash causing injuries to the driver of the first car that subsequently lost control and crossed the median and hit another car where three other parties were injured. Mr. Kennedy Lamour was the driver who started the chain of events and was arrested on charges including DUI, DUI with property damage, DUI causing serious injury, and hit-and-run causing serious injury.
Florida takes driving under the influence of alcohol very seriously, and it is evidenced by the amount of tickets issued for this offense. In 2017 alone there were 43,899 DUI violation tickets issued across the state and more than half, 24,334 of those resulted in DUI convictions. About 29 people die in car crashes involving alcohol-impaired driving every day in the United States. About a third of all United States traffic crash deaths involved drunk drivers with blood alcohol levels of .08 g/dL or higher, although lower blood alcohol levels can impair driving and cause accidents as well.
Penalties for drunk driving depend on factors including blood alcohol level, age, property damage, physical injury and repeat offender status to name a few and include misdemeanor to felony offense charges. The outcome involves costly fines, driver’s license revocation, and jail time when warranted.
A person is guilty of the offense of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol when driving is affected to the extent that physical faculties are impaired, and Florida Statute 316.193 addresses the laws against driving under the influence in Florida, and outlines penalties:
- The impaired drive has a blood alcohol level of .08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood;
- The person has a breath-alcohol of .08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.
If a conviction for Driving Under the Influence is achieved, penalties could include:
- First Conviction Offense: Fines of $500-1,000 for first conviction; $1,000-2,000 for second conviction; and prison for no more than 6 months for first conviction; no more than 9 months for second conviction;
- Second Conviction Offense: After a second conviction, it is mandated that the driver, through their own expense, have an ignition interlock device approved by the state, installed on all vehicles individually or jointly owned or leased and operated by the convicted person when the convicted person qualifies for a permanent or restricted driver’s license;
- Third Conviction Offense: If a person is convicted of a third violation within ten years after a prior conviction it will be considered a felony of the third degree; if convicted of a third violation after ten years from the prior convictions, punishment will be a fine of $2,000 to $5,000 and prison time of not more than 12 months, and a mandatory ignition interlock device for 2 years.
- Fourth or More Convictions: If convicted of a fourth or more violation, it is considered a felony of the third degree and punishable with a fine not less than $2,000; and placement of an ignition interlock device for at least six months.
Charges related to this accident include:
Damage to property or person of another is considered a misdemeanor of the first degree;
Serious bodily injury to another is considered a felony of the third degree;
Hit and run could yield very serious penalties in accordance with Florida Statute § 316.062.
The penalties involved in a DUI case where the driver leaves the scene after causing damage and personal injury are severe, and will be hashed out in a court of law. After the criminal proceedings, the drivers of the vehicles can also pursue civil claims when necessary.
Hire an attorney.
A driving under the influence charge is very serious, especially with an additional hit and run charge, and you need to hire a lawyer who will fight for your rights. Contact a DUI attorney at The Law Office of Michael M. Raheb who has experience with DUI defenses.