Partners On Call 24/7 (954) 765-6585
Partners On Call 24/7 (954) 765-6585

DUI Serious Bodily Injury Florida: What to Know

Imagine being involved in a car accident that results in serious injuries. Now, imagine that you are charged with driving under the influence (DUI) at the time of the accident. In Florida, DUI serious bodily injury cases are complex and can lead to severe consequences. Navigating the legal system and understanding your rights can be overwhelming. This blog post sheds light on the elements of DUI serious bodily injury Florida, the potential consequences, and the importance of mounting a strong defense with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

As a driver, it is crucial to understand the laws governing DUI and the potential repercussions that can follow a conviction. In this guide, you will learn about the nuances of Florida law, the consequences of a DUI serious bodily injury Florida conviction, and the strategies for building a defense against these charges. Armed with this knowledge, you can make informed decisions and protect your rights in the face of serious legal challenges.

5 Imperative Reasons to Seek Legal Counsel When Confronted with DUI Serious Bodily Injury Charges

  1. Complex Legal Landscape: The laws surrounding DUI with serious bodily injury are intricate, with many nuances that can significantly affect the outcome of a case. An experienced lawyer understands these intricacies and can navigate the legal system effectively on your behalf.
  2. Protection of Your Rights: From the moment you are arrested, numerous legal rights are at stake. A lawyer ensures your rights are upheld throughout the process, from the proper administration of field sobriety tests to ensuring you are not unfairly incriminated.
  3. Potential for Reduced Penalties: A skilled lawyer can negotiate on your behalf, potentially resulting in reduced charges, lesser penalties, or even dismissal. They might also present evidence or arguments that could mitigate circumstances or challenge the evidence against you.
  4. Guidance Through the Process: The legal proceedings for DUI cases can be overwhelming. A lawyer will guide you at each step, ensuring all paperwork is properly filed, deadlines are met, and you are prepared for any court appearances.
  5. Emotional and Psychological Support: Beyond the legal implications, facing a DUI charge can be emotionally taxing. A compassionate lawyer provides not only legal expertise but also emotional support, ensuring you are not alone in this daunting journey.

Understanding DUI Serious Bodily Injury in Florida

A person in handcuffs with a police officer in the background, representing a DUI Serious Bodily Injury arrest in Florida

In Florida, DUI serious bodily injury refers to causing substantial harm to another person due to alleged drinking and driving. The state solely needs to prove negligence for a conviction, without the requirement to show that the drinking directly caused the accident. Actively contesting DUI serious bodily injury charges could possibly mitigate severe consequences.

Understanding the elements of DUI serious bodily injury in Florida involves two key concepts: actual physical control and the definition of serious bodily injury. A closer examination of these concepts, as outlined in the Florida Statutes, will enhance our understanding of Florida’s law complexities.

Actual Physical Control and DUI

In Florida, actual physical control is defined as being physically present in or on the vehicle and having the capability to operate it. This aspect is pivotal in DUI cases, as it dictates if a person can be charged with DUI. Take note that serum blood is commonly used by hospitals for medical testing in DUI cases involving bodily injury. Law enforcement laboratories utilize gas chromatography to analyze blood samples, which can impact the primary offense point value in a DUI case.

Grasping the idea of actual physical control is important as it bears direct influence on potential charges and defenses in a DUI case. Challenging actual physical control may help reduce or even eliminate DUI charges, depending on the circumstances of the case.

Defining Serious Bodily Injury

In Florida DUI cases, serious bodily injury is a condition that poses a substantial risk of death, serious personal disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ to any person, including the driver. This type of injury can be devastating and have a long-lasting effect, especially in cases involving serious bodily injury dui, as defined by Florida law.

Assessing whether a victim’s injuries align with this definition is key in a DUI serious bodily injury case, as it can directly influence the charges and potential penalties.

Comprehending Florida law’s definition of serious bodily injury is imperative as it can greatly affect the result of a DUI case. If the injuries do not meet the criteria, a defendant may be able to argue that the charges should be reduced or dismissed. Evaluating the victim’s injuries and challenging their classification as serious bodily injury can play a critical role in mounting an effective defense.

Consequences of a DUI Serious Bodily Injury Conviction

A person in a courtroom, representing the consequences of a DUI Serious Bodily Injury conviction in Florida

A conviction for DUI serious bodily injury in Florida may lead to third-degree felony charges along with heightened penalties. The consequences of a DUI conviction can be quite severe, especially if the defendant has a prior serious felony conviction, with a maximum of five years in prison and harsh minimum mandatory sentencing. Comprehending these repercussions is vital to underscore the need for a robust defense.

In accordance with the Florida guidelines, the minimum mandatory prison sentence for DUI with serious bodily injury is 51 months in Florida State Prison. A court-mandated three-year minimum suspension or revocation of the driver’s license in Florida will also be imposed upon conviction for DUI with serious bodily injury. Being aware of the possible outcomes of a conviction emphasizes the need for a strong defense strategy to lessen the impact on your life.

Third-Degree Felony Charges

Third-degree felony charges for DUI serious bodily injury in Florida are punishable by a maximum prison sentence of five years and a fine up to $5,000. As a level 7 offense in Florida, the sentencing guideline is 56 points, which can lead to a felony conviction.

The grave nature of a third or subsequent conviction for a third-degree felony underscores the need to dispute the charges and construct a sturdy defense.

Facing a third-degree felony charge for DUI serious bodily injury can have long-lasting consequences on your life, including a permanent criminal record, loss of employment opportunities, and financial hardships. Grasping the gravity of these charges is crucial for making educated decisions about your defense strategy and the potential case outcomes.

Enhanced Penalties and Aggravating Factors

Enhanced penalties are laws that increase the sentence for a crime based on the manner in which it was committed and the identity of the perpetrator. Aggravating factors are elements that increase the defendant’s culpability, potentially resulting in an enhanced or maximum sentence. Aggravating factors may include:

  • Previous convictions
  • Use of a weapon
  • Serious bodily injury
  • Targeting a vulnerable victim

These factors may increase the total sentencing score, leading to more severe penalties for DUI serious bodily injury convictions.

It’s imperative to understand how aggravating factors could potentially impact your case, as they can considerably sway the penalties you might face if convicted. By identifying and addressing any aggravating factors in your case, your criminal defense attorney can work to minimize the potential penalties and help you achieve the best possible outcome.

Building a Defense Against DUI Serious Bodily Injury Charges

A person talking to a lawyer, representing the building of a defense against DUI Serious Bodily Injury charges in Florida

Constructing a robust defense against DUI serious bodily injury charges is paramount to safeguard your rights and possibly avoid harsh repercussions. Potential strategies for defending against these charges may include contesting the traffic stop, disputing field sobriety tests, and questioning probable cause. Each of these strategies can play a vital role in weakening the prosecution’s case and bolstering your defense.

In the following subsections, we will explore each of these strategies in greater detail, providing insight into how they can be used effectively to challenge DUI serious bodily injury charges. Comprehending these defense strategies can assist you and your attorney in devising a customized approach for your case, boosting the chances of a positive outcome.

Challenging the Traffic Stop

Examining the legality of the traffic stop can lead to the suppression of evidence and the dismissal of the DUI case. An unlawful traffic stop in a DUI case may occur, for example, if an officer halted a vehicle due to an expired license plate, resulting in the driver’s arrest for DUI.

Disputing the legality of the traffic stop could potentially undermine the prosecution’s case while reinforcing your defense. Some strategies that can be employed to challenge the traffic stop include:

  • Questioning the officer’s probable cause for the stop
  • Challenging the accuracy of the officer’s observations
  • Investigating any potential violations of your constitutional rights

By challenging the traffic stop, you may be able to weaken the prosecution’s case against you.

Successfully disputing the legality of the traffic stop can result in the exclusion of crucial evidence, potentially leading to the dismissal of your DUI serious bodily injury charges.

Disputing Field Sobriety Tests and Breathalyzer Results

A person undergoing a field sobriety test with a Breathalyzer machine in the background, relevant for disputing DUI serious bodily injury Florida charges.

Field sobriety tests are administered by law enforcement to determine if a person is impaired. Strategies for disputing field sobriety tests may include questioning the accuracy of the tests, challenging the officer’s interpretation of the results, and more. Similarly, breathalyzer tests are conducted by law enforcement to determine the alcohol content in an individual’s system. To dispute breathalyzer results, you can also challenge the accuracy of the tests and the qualifications of the officer administering the tests.

Contesting the results of field sobriety and breathalyzer tests can cast doubts on the prosecution’s evidence while fortifying your defense. Successfully challenging these tests can weaken the case against you and potentially lead to a reduction or dismissal of your DUI serious bodily injury charges.

Questioning Probable Cause and Constitutional Violations

Probable cause is essential for an officer to make an arrest for DUI. If an officer’s probable cause deduction is based on inadequate evidence or an irrational deduction, the driver’s arrest will be declared unlawful, and any subsequent evidence will be excluded, leading to the prosecutor dismissing the DUI.

In cases where a forced blood draw is conducted, the police officer must have probable cause that serious bodily injury occurred. Challenging probable cause and potential constitutional violations is a crucial aspect of building a strong defense against DUI serious bodily injury charges. By questioning the officer’s observations, the accuracy of the officer’s report, and other strategies, you can potentially undermine the prosecution’s case and protect your rights.

The Role of an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

A person talking to a lawyer, representing the role of an experienced criminal defense attorney in DUI Serious Bodily Injury cases

The role of an experienced criminal defense attorney in a DUI serious bodily injury case is to provide case evaluation, strategy development, and plea negotiation services. A seasoned attorney can assess your case, devise a plan, and attempt to negotiate a plea agreement to reduce the charges and the potential penalties you face. Retaining an attorney early in the process can provide the opportunity to present your side of the story and any favorable evidence concerning the incident to the police.

Working with an experienced criminal defense attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. By thoroughly evaluating your case, developing a tailored defense strategy, and negotiating potential plea deals, your attorney can help you navigate the complexities of the legal system and protect your rights.

Evaluating the Case and Developing a Strategy

When assessing a DUI serious bodily injury case and formulating a defense strategy, your attorney will take into account relevant evidence, legal precedents, and potential defenses. Evaluating the pros and cons of the situation and devising a strategy involves a thorough analysis of the case and a deep understanding of Florida DUI law.

Formulating an all-inclusive plan to effectively present your case is pivotal in securing the most favorable outcome. By evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of your case and constructing a plan of action, your attorney can help you navigate the legal challenges and work towards a favorable resolution.

Negotiating Plea Deals and Minimizing Penalties

Negotiating plea deals involves the defendant and the prosecutor coming to an agreement, wherein the defendant will plead guilty to either a lesser charge or to the original charge with a reduced sentence. Plea bargaining can result in reduced charges or a lighter sentence for the defendant and help resolve a criminal case without going through a lengthy trial process.

A criminal defense attorney can assist a defendant in:

  • Negotiating a plea agreement with the prosecutor
  • Providing counsel on the most suitable course of action
  • Explaining the advantages and disadvantages of plea bargaining.

A criminal defense attorney’s role in negotiating plea deals and reducing penalties is critical in DUI serious bodily injury cases. By working closely with your attorney, you can explore potential plea agreements and make informed decisions about the best course of action to minimize the impact of the charges on your life.

Facing DUI Serious Bodily Injury Charges in Fort Lauderdale? Meltzer & Bell, P.A. Offers Unparalleled Defense Expertise

Facing a DUI charge involving serious bodily injury can be an incredibly distressing and complicated experience. At such a crucial juncture in your life, you need the very best in defense. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. stands ready to provide the vigorous defense you deserve.

Why Choose Meltzer & Bell, P.A. for Your Defense?

  • Deep Local Expertise: Our firm was established by a former Broward County prosecutor and a former Broward County public defender. This unique combination gives us a comprehensive understanding of the local criminal justice system from both sides.
  • We Don’t Settle Easily: We stand by our commitment to our clients. We don’t merely plea you out; we strive relentlessly to ensure you get the most favorable outcome.
  • Unparalleled Trial Experience: With over 500 combined jury trials through verdict, we have the hands-on courtroom experience required to handle complex cases.
  • Diverse and Experienced Team: Our top-tier team includes former felony special unit prosecutors and experienced public defenders, ensuring diverse perspectives and specialized expertise for your defense.
  • Stellar Reputation: Our dedication to excellence is reflected in our over 700 5-star reviews from satisfied clients.
  • Impressive Track Record: We pride ourselves on our extensive list of significant case victories throughout Florida.
  • Decades of Combined Experience: Our team brings decades of combined experience to the table, ensuring that every client benefits from our vast knowledge and insights.

When Your Future is on the Line, Trust Meltzer & Bell, P.A.

Facing DUI Serious Bodily Injury charges in Fort Lauderdale is undeniably daunting, but you don’t have to face it alone. At Meltzer & Bell, P.A., we are dedicated to fighting tooth and nail for your rights, ensuring you receive a defense that is both passionate and effective. Trust in our expertise and let us help you navigate this challenging legal terrain.


DUI serious bodily injury cases in Florida are complex and can carry severe consequences. Understanding the elements of DUI serious bodily injury, the potential penalties, and the strategies for building a defense is essential in protecting your rights and navigating the legal system. By working with an experienced criminal defense attorney, you can maximize your chances of achieving the best possible outcome in your case.

Facing a DUI serious bodily injury charge can be overwhelming, but with the right knowledge and legal representation, you can take control of your situation and work towards a favorable resolution. Remember, the stakes are high, and the consequences can be life-altering. Don’t leave your future to chance – consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney and take the necessary steps to protect your rights and your future.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a serious bodily injury charge in Florida?

Serious bodily injury in Florida is an injury to a person that creates a substantial risk of death, disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of a bodily member or organ.

What is the sentence for a felony DUI in Florida?

In Florida, a felony DUI charge is applicable for a third or subsequent DUI within 10 years, or for a DUI that results in injury or death to another person. The sentence includes confinement in state prison for up to 15 years and a maximum $10,000 fine.

Will I go to jail for a DUI in Florida?

A first-time DUI offense in Florida could result in up to six months of jail time, so it is possible that you could go to jail for a DUI.

How long do you go to jail for a DUI hit and run in Florida?

For a DUI hit and run in Florida, jail terms ranging from 60 days to 30 years can be imposed.

What is the penalty for DUI with bodily injury in Florida?

In Florida, a DUI with bodily injury is a 3rd-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison or 5 years of probation, a $5,000 fine, and possibly restitution for the victim.

Back to Top

  1. Our Firm

  2. Practices
  3. Contact

    Partners on Call 24/7

    Call (954) 765-6585 or complete the form for a free consultation. Our partners are on call 24/7 to help you protect your rights.

    100% Secure & Confidential