Florida Man Convicted of DUI Manslaughter; Faces Minimum 4 Years of Jail Time

Posted by Ryan Russman | May 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

Any type of DWI charge should be taken very seriously. However, the steepest penalties for drunk driving usually occur when an offender is also accused of causing an accident that leads to the death of another individual. CBS News in Florida is reporting the story of a man, Mario Careaga, who was recently found guilty of DUI manslaughter after hitting and killing a woman on a motorcycle in 2010. Prosecutors allege that Careaga consumed a number of alcoholic drinks before getting behind the wheel on September 10th, 2010. He then swerved on the road causing him to hit 22-year-old Nancy Ruiz-Lopez. Ruiz-Lopez was a Miami Heat dancer who was riding her motorcycle when struck by Careaga and died shortly after.

According to NBC News, the defense argued that the fatally was a tragic accident and that Careaga had only 2 drinks before driving and swerved in an attempt to avoid another motorist driving recklessly behind him. The prosecution, however, has strong evidence against Careaga because it was found that his blood alcohol level at the time of the crash was 0.28; which is more than 3 times the legal limit. After more than 10 hours of deliberation, the jury found that Careaga was guilty 1 count DUI manslaughter and 1 count DUI manslaughter with an unlawful blood alcohol level.

Though Careaga has yet to be sentenced, he faces a minimum of 4 years in prison for his charges. DUI manslaughter is a very serious offense and the evidence needed for an accusation may be troubling to some. If a driver makes an innocent mistake that unfortunately leads to a fatal accident, they could face a DUI manslaughter charge which has very steep penalties in most states if any alcohol is in their system. Anyone facing a DWI homicide charge should contact a defense attorney right away in order to get the best possible results in their case.

In New Hampshire, anyone who is under the influence and causes a fatal accident will be charged with negligent homicide. In most cases this is a felony offense.  A class B felony in New Hampshire can lead to up to 7 years in jail, $4,000 in fines, up to 5 years of probation and 7 years of license suspension. A class A conviction can lead to 15 years of incarceration, $4,000 in fines and 5 years of probation. It addition, drivers will be required to install and use an ignition interlock device for up to 5 years once their license is returned.

The only way to avoid the negative penalties of a DWI negligent homicide is to fight the charges with the aid of an experienced defense attorney. At Russman Law we understand what it takes to win cases. Even if you feel that the evidence against you is overwhelming, there is a lot that a strong defense can do for you. For example, prosecutors are more likely to offer a plea bargain in situations where they believe a jury may find the defendant not guilty. For more information about how a NH DWI attorney can help you, contact our office right away.

About the Author

Ryan Russman

Attorney Ryan Russman has dedicated his career to fighting for the rights of New Hampshire citizens. His practice, based in Exeter (Rockingham County) New Hampshire, is limited to cases involving DWI and DUI, other motor vehicle and criminal cases, and many cases involving personal injury. He is, however, best known as one of New Hampshire's leading legal authorities on DWI.


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