A 22 year-old Fort Lauderdale woman is facing possible DUI Manslaughter charges after the 2012 Porsche Panamera she was driving skidded out of control and struck two homeless men.
The homeless men were both killed.
The driver remained on the scene and waited for Fort Lauderdale Police to arrive. Upon their arrival, police detected signs of impairment. Signs of impairment include the odor of alcohol, bloodshot eyes, and slurred speech.
Police believe that a red-light camera in the area may have captured footage of the fatal accident.
Relying up a recent Supreme Court decision requiring officers to obtain a search warrant prior to drawing blood, officers obtained a search warrant for a blood sample. The blood was taken from the suspect and will be tested for alcohol-content as well as the presence of any drugs that could have impaired her ability to drive.
The woman was not arrested at the time of the accident because police will need a blood-alcohol reading of .08 or higher, or the presence of drugs in her blood, in order to charge her with DUI manslaughter.
DUI manslaughter is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in state prison.
The woman has a pretty clean driving record except for a 2009 NVDL charge. When charged with DUI manslaughter, however, your priors are not a tremendous factor when it comes to plea negotiations unless you have prior DUIs.
Most DUI manslaughter cases go to trial as non-prison pleas are seldom offered, especially in Broward County where this accident occurred.
It is unknown at this time what other evidence of impairment existed at the time of the accident. The toxicology results should take a few weeks. At that point, if the blood results determine that the woman was impaired, an arrest warrant will be issued.
Eric Matheny is a criminal defense lawyer helping clients with DUI cases, DUI with serious bodily injury cases, and DUI manslaughter cases in Miami-Dade and Broward.