Court Of Appeal Overturns Multiple Convictions Trial Court Violated Double Jeopardy Provision Of Con
In Kopson vs. State the district court affirmed in part & reversed in part the lower court's adjudication on several counts concerning a DUI manslaughter matter. Defendant was driving with a suspended drivers license at the time he struck 2 pedestrians, killing one and causing serious bodily injury to the other. Defendant entrered a plea of guilty, with no plea agreement, to seven counts, which included DUI manslaughter with an illegal blood-alcohol concentration (count One), DUI manslaughter (count Two), DUI with serious bodily injury (count III), DUI with serious bodily injury (count Four), felony DUI fourth conviction (count Five), driving with a suspended drivers license causing death (count VI), and DUI resulting in property damage (count VII). His blood alcohol levels were .39 & .37. The defendant had 4 prior convictions for DUI arising out of three different criminal episodes. The trial court adjudicated the defendant guilty on all counts.
The circuit court suspended the sentences on counts I, IV, and VI based on double jeopardy grounds; however, the court of appeal ruled that adjudicating the defendant guilty on all seven counts was fundamental error. The court of appeal held that count six violates the double jeopardy clause in the United States Constitution in relation to count II since a defendant cannot be adjudicated of both DUI manslaughter and DWSL causing death when there is only one death; count IV violates double jeopardy as it relates to count III because a defendant cannot be adjudicated of both DUI resulting in serious bodily injury while impaired & DUI resulting in serious bodily injury with an unlawful blood alcohol level under the same statute; and count I violates the double jeopardy clause in the United States Constitution in relation to count II because the defendant could not be convicted of DUI manslaughter 2 times for the same incident. The district court remanded the case ordering the circuit court to vacate the adjudications on counts I, IV, & VI.
Miami, FL 33301
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