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Why Arrests May Not Immediately Follow Fatal Car Accidents

A recent fatal accident in Delray Beach left four people dead, including two children under the age of 10. The driver of a pickup truck going at a high rate of speed crashed into a minivan, and the passengers of the minivan were killed on contact. The 21-year old driver of the pickup was not injured and walked away from the accident. He was not immediately arrested.

Was it a crime?

The driver of the pickup was examined by a nurse and submitted to blood testing at the scene of the accident. Both the nurse's statement and the blood test led authorities to believe that there was no impairment. The man's attorney also denies that the young man was on any drugs or alcohol at the time of the crime. His condition during the crash will be factored into the overall investigation into this tragedy.

Despite the fact that four people were killed in this tragic accident, it is plausible that the driver of the pickup may not be charged with a crime, but it could take investigators months before any final decision is made. It is typical in fatal accidents that police do not make an arrest right away unless the evidence inconclusive. If there is a fatality associated with a car accident, investigative authorities work to make sure that all evidence is gathered before any arrests are made.

The Legal Rights of the Accused

In the state of Florida, it is not automatically a crime if there is a death as a result of a car accident. As tragic as they may be, some fatal car accidents are unfortunately just that, an accident.

If someone is arrested on the spot that means that there is enough evidence to prove the case, which often happens with DUIs. However, the charge of traffic-homicide is a severe charge, so it's important that investigators and prosecutors have the proper evidence in place to charge someone. The evidence may take months to gather and may include applying for search warrants to examine cell phone records and property, surveillance footage from nearby homes or businesses, interviews with witnesses, DNA samples, and calculating speed and other factors that could have led to the accident. Once investigative authorities have gathered enough evidence, they can turn it over to a prosecutor, who can determine if there is enough to make an arrest.

Prosecutors must abide by the legal rights of the accused, which states that once someone is arrested, a trial must begin in 180 days. An arrest in these types of situations will come only after the case is built.

Don't Hesitate to Contact an Attorney

If you are the driver of a vehicle involved in a fatal car accident, you should not delay in contacting a criminal defense attorney. Even if you are not arrested at the scene of the accident, it is possible that investigators are exploring the possibility of criminal charges. Your attorney will be able to work with you to determine your defense and help you understand the law behind the charges filed against you.

References:

Trischitta, L. (2018, May 04). Crashes kill South Floridians, then families face the wait: Will an arrest ever happen? Retrieved from http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/crime/fl-reg-no-arrests-after-crash-20180503-story.html

Trischitta, L. (2018, May 01). Four killed in Delray Beach crash were a family vacationing in South Florida. Retrieved from http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/palm-beach/delray-beach/fl-pn-delray-multiple-deaths-streater-20180430-story.html

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