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Man Charged In DUI Manslaughter Death of Miami Heat Dancer Free on Bond

The Sun Sentinel reports that a man charged with DUI manslaughter after a September 2010 crash with a new member of the Miami Heat dance squad was released from jail on bond Friday.
The accused, a Fort Lauderdale man, surrendered to authorities Thursday to face five charges in the death of the 22-year old Miami Heat dancer.
Police said that the accused's blood alcohol levels were three times the legal limit. Levels measured .24 percent and .23 percent in two samples taken on Sept. 10, and the first blood sample was drawn 90 minutes after the 9:38 p.m. crash, police said.
The legal blood alcohol limit in Florida is .08 percent.
The accused's criminal defense attorney called the incident "a horrible, tragic accident."
The criminal defense lawyer said a forensics study will be done.
An officer described the accused's appearance at the crash scene as "swaying from side to side and in a circular motion, bloodshot glassy eyes, slurred speech, the odor of alcoholic beverages coming from his person, unsteady balance, and difficulty supporting himself."
A police report says that the accused told officers he was driving a 2009 white Mercedes-Benz sedan at the time of the crash and that he had consumed two vodka drinks at the mall.
The accused was charged with careless driving (a traffic infraction), DUI manslaughter; unlawful blood alcohol level manslaughter; DUI property damage and unlawful blood alcohol level property damage, according to the police report.
The accused was able to post a bond because DUI manslaughter is a bondable offense.
However, there is a 4-year mandatory minimum prison sentence for DUI manslaughter.
It is likely that the defense will be that while the accused was driving under the influence, he did not cause or contribute to the death of the young lady.
It is not DUI manslaughter simply to be involved in a fatal crash while under the influence. The State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused caused the accident due to impairment, or significantly contributed to the accident.
If the victim was driving recklessly herself, then she may have caused the crash, and the accused will be not guilty of DUI manslaughter, but may be guilty of the lesser-included offense, DUI.
Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney serving Miami-Dade and Broward. Call today to discuss your case.