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3 driving offenses that can be felonies

Drivers should never underestimate the importance of safe driving techniques. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, over 35,000 people die in a given year in motor vehicle accidents. To imagine that many of these fatalities were avoidable only highlights the tragedy. It is no wonder, then, that courts often regard people charged with driving-related offenses harshly.

Judges evaluate accident cases based on their unique circumstances, but certain events may be more likely to prompt serious convictions. The following are three offenses that Florida courts often consider felonies.

Driving under the influence

In Florida, a first DUI charge is typically a misdemeanor, but for a repeat offender, this could escalate to a felony charge. This may be the case for the third charge within a span of 10 years or the fourth or greater charge within any period. The courts believe that multiple DUI charges indicate a driver may be a chronic risk to others on the road, so judges are more likely to rule in favor of more severe penalties. 

Vehicular manslaughter

Vehicular manslaughter is another driving-related offense which results in a felony charge. This term refers to criminally negligent or intentionally murderous behavior while driving that results in the death of a person other than the driver. Determining whether the action was purposeful is a major factor in these types of cases, so a person facing this type of charge may have some recourse when it comes to building a defense.

Leaving the scene of accident

In any accident, regardless of who is at fault, everyone involved is legally obligated to remain at the scene and await the arrival of law enforcement and emergency response personnel. According to the law, leaving—especially if it appears that someone may have sustained an injury—is an intentionally reckless action which could result in felony charges. If the injuries are severe or fatal, felony charges are even more likely.

 

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