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Judge Hands Down Maximum Sentence for DUI in Case of Volusia County Man

A circuit court judge handed down the maximum sentence for a 43-year-old Volusia County man convicted of DUI manslaughter recently, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Circuit court judge Leah Case handed the convicted man, Chadwick Dean Vogt, 15 years behind bars, according to the report.

The case stemmed from a fatal car-motorcycle crash that occurred on a Thursday evening in May. Vogt killed Ernest Alan Smith, who was driving a motorcycle at the time, after Vogt’s Ford Bronco collided with Smith’s motorcycle at an intersection. The Bronco turned in front of the motorcycle, the report states.

Vogt was found guilty of second-degree driving under the influence manslaughter in April by a jury..

“This case was not the first time the defendant chose to drink and drive, and his level of intoxication was more than 3 times the legal limit,” State Attorney R.J. Larizza said in a statement.. “It is disturbing to note the fact that this tragic and senseless death could have been avoided but for an alcohol-tainted choice to drive while intoxicated.”

Smith, who was on his way to work as a security guard at a local hospice care center, was thrown from his motorcycle and died at the scene of the collision, police told the Orlando Sentinel. Police determined after the crash that Vogt violated Smith’s right of way on the roadway and was at fault, according to the report.

Vogt had a blood-alcohol level of .26, more than three times the legal limit of .08 in the state of Florida, according to the report. An open 12-ounce can of Busch beer was found in the driver’s vehicle.

DUI in Florida

In 2013, 2,402 people were killed in car crashes in the state of Florida. Of those, 36%, or 859, involved a suspicion of alcohol, and 20%, or 474, involved a confirmed use of alcohol, according to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

Another 7,825 crashes involving drunk drivers resulted in injuries in the state. An additional 1,200 DUI crashes involved illegal drugs, with more than 950 resulting in injuries and more than 100 resulting in deaths.

Driving under the influence with more than .08 percent blood-alcohol content is illegal in the state of Florida. Those caught doing so will likely be charged with driving under the influence.

If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in a DUI-related vehicle crash, you may be eligible to receive compensation as a result. In filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, you have to prove the defendant was somehow negligent, thus causing or creating the incident. A DUI charge is often a strong piece of evidence to that end.

In Florida, victims are also able to receive a higher threshold of compensation, known as punitive damages. These are levied by a judge when the incident is so severe or egregious that he or she feels a strong punishment is necessary. In civil suits that is most often done by ordering the defendant to provide an additional sum of money to the plaintiff.

If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident, contact the lawyers at Boone & Davis today. We will help gather all evidence necessary to ensure you recover compensation for your losses.

Boone & Davis, Attorneys at Law is located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and serves clients in and around Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, Dania, Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach and Broward County.

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