Maryland residents may not be familiar with a case from Florida, but will no doubt be interested in its result. In an appeals court decision, a 12-year prison sentence for DUI manslaughter was overturned. Typically, DUI cases that result in fatality are aggressively prosecuted and carry with them very negative connotations for the driver involved. In this case, the driver was drunk; however, the circumstances of the argument have proved that despite his DUI, he was not at fault.
The appeals court looked over the evidence and found something that is rather unusual. The motorcycle driver who was killed was “popping a wheelie” at the time of the accident, making his headlight impossible to see by the drivers around him in the dark of the early morning. The appeals court did rule that the driver was drunk, but also found that the state did not prove that he caused the crash. Even if he had been sober, the evidence showed, he would not have seen the motorcycle.
Though the public often assumes that where alcohol is involved, the fault is on that driver. However, in this case, we see that the reckless driving in this case was done by the victim. It was found that he was speeding, not wearing and helmet and had also consumed alcohol that night.
It is important not to make preconceived notions about DUI cases before all of the evidence has been entirely presented and investigated. Attorneys who specialize in DUI cases are familiar with the bias that is associated with these cases and can present an aggressive defense to ensure that the case is properly heard.
Source: The Orlando Sentinel, “Court: Biker likely popping a wheelie, so drunken driver not guilty of DUI manslaughter,” Rene Stutzman, Nov. 12, 2012