According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “Every day, almost 29 people in the United States die in alcohol-impaired vehicle crashes – that’s one person every 50 minutes in 2016.” The NHTSA goes on to say that while drunk driving fatalities have fallen by a third in the last thirty years, “drunk driving crashes claim more than 10,000 lives per year.” At what cost? The damages caused by these deaths costs $44 billion each year, according to the NHTSA.
In Florida, driving under the influence (DUI) is covered under Section 316.193 of the Florida Statutes. Basically, there are three different types of DUI accidents that can take place, including:
- An accident involving property damage only.
- An accident involving serious bodily injuries.
- An accident involving fatalities.
If a drunk or drugged driver causes an accident involving property damage only, he or she is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree. If the impaired driver causes serious bodily injury to someone else, the driver is guilty of a felony of the third degree.
If the impaired driver causes death of another human being or an unborn child, the driver commits DUI manslaughter, a felony of the second degree. DUI manslaughter is a felony of the first degree if the driver knowingly flees the scene of a DUI accident.
Do Accidents Automatically Disqualify People?
“If I’m in an accident involving property damage only, can I be eligible for DUI diversion?” Essentially, if you did NOT cause the accident, you may still qualify for DUI diversion if you meet the other program requirements. However, if you are responsible for the accident, even if no one was hurt, unfortunately you will not qualify for DUI diversion under the Back on Track program. We have been successful convincing the State Attorney's Office to refer clients to the program in spite of this prohibition where the damage was to non-vehicle property (a tree, a curb, light pole, etc...)
What else can disqualify me from the Back on Track program?
- Having a BAC above 0.25.
- A prior felony conviction.
- More than five prior misdemeanor convictions.
- Completion of two misdemeanor diversion programs.
- DUI arrest while driving on a suspended license.
- Reckless driving during the DUI arrest, such as speeding or evading the police officer.
To learn more about Miami’s Back on Track program and whether the accident disqualifies you, contact my firm at once. I’d be more than happy to answer your questions.