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DWLS Causing Death or Serious Bodily Injury

Under Florida Statute Section 322.34(6)(b), in a prosecution for carelessly or negligently operating a motor vehicle while causing death or serious bodily injury, the prosecutor with the State of Florida is required to prove that the defendant operated the vehicle in a careless or negligent manner.

The offense applies not just if the driver has a suspended driver’s license, but also if the person has never had a driver’s license.

The standard jury instruction in Chapter 28.12, adopted in 2013, explains the element of carelessness or negligence and defines those terms.

Under § 316.1925, Fla. Stat., the term “careless” means failing to operate a motor vehicle in a careful and prudent manner under the circumstances, so as to endanger life, limb, or property. The term “negligent” means the failure to use reasonable care under the circumstances.

Attorneys for DWLS Causing Death or Serious Bodily Injury

The constitutionality of prosecutions under Florida Statute Section 322.34(6)(b) have not been well tested. In most criminal cases, something more than negligence or carelessness is required for a prosecution.

If you are charged with any offense for driving while license suspended or revoked, then seek out the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney in Tampa, FL, who can help you challenge the constitutionality of Section 322.34(6)(b) both on its face and as applied to the facts of your case.

Contact us to discuss the charges pending against you, the potential penalties that can be imposed after a conviction, and the best ways to fight criminal traffic charges for an outright dismissal.

Call (813) 250-0500 today.


Elements of DWLS Causing Death or Serious Bodily Injury

To prove the crime of Operating a Motor Vehicle Carelessly or Negligently Causing Serious Bodily Injury or Death Without Having a Driver’s License or While Driver’s License Suspended, Revoked, Canceled for Specified Reason, the State must prove the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The defendant operated a motor vehicle in a careless or negligent manner;
  2. At the time of the crash, the driver either:
    • had a driver’s license or driving privilege that was suspended, revoked, or canceled pursuant to Florida Statute 316.655, 322.26(8), 322.27(2), 322.28(2), or 322.28(4); or
    • did not have a driver’s license;
  3. As a result of the careless or negligent operation, the defendant caused the death of the victim or causes serious bodily injury to the victim.

Under § 322.01(27), Fla. Stat., the term “motor vehicle” means any self-propelled vehicle, including a motor vehicle combination, not operated upon rails or guideway, excluding vehicles moved solely by human power, motorized wheelchairs, and motorized bicycles.

Under § 322.01(5), Fla. Stat., the term “canceled” means that a driver’s license has been declared void and terminated.

Under § 322.01(36), Fla. Stat., the term “revoked” means the privilege to drive a motor vehicle has been terminated.

Under § 322.01(40), Fla. Stat., the term “suspended” means the privilege to drive a motor vehicle has been temporarily withdrawn.


This article was last updated on Friday, March 22, 2019.

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