A young woman who struck a Miami Beach chef while driving home from her job as a bartender will be accepting a plea deal, according to sources.
The 20-year-old defendant is charged with DUI manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident causing death (LSA with death) after she allegedly drove home from work with a blood-alcohol level of .208 and struck a pedestrian crossing the street. The pedestrian was a chef at Miami Beach’s Shore Club and had just finished his shift when the 20-year-old hit him with her car and kept on driving.
An independent witness driving behind the accused observed the crash and followed the accused as she drove off. The independent witness reported her tag number and make and model to the police who arrested her at her apartment later that morning.
With the high blood-alcohol reading, the independent witness, and the physical evidence found on her vehicle - which included the victim’s blood, the evidence was strong enough to warrant a conviction.
Rather than risking a guilty verdict at trial, a plea deal has been reached between the state and the defendant where the accused will plead guilty to the charges and will be sentenced to four years in state prison, followed by two years of house arrest, followed by fifteen years of probation.
The deal is not finalized until approved by the judge.
DUI manslaughter carries a four-year mandatory minimum term in prison so the accused will not be entitled to any gain time. When she is released, she will be on house arrest, or community control, which means that she will be confined to her home and may only leave for school and work purposes.
I would also imagine that the accused will permanently lose her ability to drive in Florida as a condition of the plea.
Eric Matheny is a Miami and Broward DUI and DUI manslaughter attorney.