A manslaughter charge in Florida is one of the worst possible crimes to be accused of. Manslaughter is defined as the killing of another person without actual intent. It can happen by accident, such as when a driver fails to stop and fatally injures a pedestrian, or while a person is in a fit of rage, such as when someone comes home to find their spouse with another person. While not as severe of a charge as murder, which involves intent, a manslaughter conviction can result in several years of imprisonment. 

Although the prospect of facing a manslaughter conviction is extremely frightening, it’s important for anyone who is suspected or accused of the crime to remain as calm as possible, seek legal counsel with a criminal defense lawyer, and cooperate with the investigation. The worst possible course of action is to flee. Fleeing not only leads to further suspicion of guilt, but can lead to more serious charges. 

Take, for example, the recent death of a 14-year-old child in Bal Harbour who was killed in a hit-and-run accident.

The teen, identified as Ethan Gordon, was riding his bicycle on Saturday, August 23, when he attempted to cross Collins Avenue at the 10200 block at around 6 p.m. and was hit by a vehicle that was heading northbound. Miami-Dade officers released a photo of a woman, 24-year-old Luisa Fernanda Ahearn, whom they believe is connected with the incident. However, authorities did not confirm whether Ahearn was operating the vehicle that struck the boy. 

This is a prime example of why anyone involved in this kind of incident should stop and cooperate with officials. Because the driver did not stop at the scene of the accident and the boy was later pronounced dead after being transported to a local hospital, what would have been a lesser charge of 3rd or second degree vehicular manslaughter can be charged as 1st degree vehicular manslaughter. The driver, if found, can face up to 30 years in prison because they fled the accident scene. 

The news report did not mention if the car had been speeding or under suspicion of intoxication, but in cases of vehicular homicide, sometimes drivers didn’t do anything wrong. Oftentimes, bicyclists and pedestrians cross streets in areas that are heavily blocked by trees or other signs, making it difficult for drivers to see them. Other times, they cross the street while the light for oncoming traffic is green or attempt to beat traffic and the driver doesn’t have enough time to break. 

Sometimes the driver isn’t even charged, but fleeing the scene is an automatic hit-and-run. Still, drivers can flee out of panic. If this is a situation you are facing, consult with a criminal defense lawyer, like Michael D. Weinstein, right away to start to build your case.

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