Unlicensed Driver Receives 8.5 Years in Vehicular Homicide Plea Deal
As a full-service Palm Beach and Broward County traffic ticket and criminal defense firm, we handle cases of all types, from driving without a license to, for example, homicide. As was recently reported on by the Sun Sentinel, these two issues converged in the case of a man sentenced to 8.5 years in prison for vehicular homicide after he struck and killed a toddler while driving without a valid license and allegedly blacking out due to dangerously high blood sugar.
The Lake Worth convict, Steven Barnes, is not a new addition to the Florida criminal justice system — according to the Sun Sentinel, his record includes six DUIs and nine instances of driving without a license. (His license was revoked permanently in 1996.)
Our criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know that, as evidenced by this case, poor decisions can lead to irreversible actions, the result of which can mean the loss of life and serious prison time for an otherwise nonviolent offender.
If you think 8.5 years in prison is a lot of time to spend locked away, consider the alternative that Barnes faced: 15 years, which was the maximum possible time in prison allowed under the law for the circumstances in which he found himself. But because Barnes pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide in conneciton with the tragic accident (which took place in Septemebr of last year), prosecutors agreed to lower his prison time.
The agreement between prosecutors and Barnes, the defendant, was contingent upon approval from Palm Beach County Circuit Judge David Crow, who ultimately approved the plea deal.
From the perspective of our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert, the fact that this was a case about bad decisions gone horribly wrong, rather than a case of a malicious individual purposefuly taking the life of a three-year-old, played a big part in the prosecutor and public defender being able to come together and reach an agreement over the fate of Steven Barnes.
According to the article referenced above, back in September of last year, Barnes was driving his truck south on Kirk Rd. in Lake Worth when the three-year-old was walking with her friend on the sidewalk of the same street on which Barnes was driving. Unfortunately, Barnes, who is a diabetic, lost control of his vehicle when he blacked out (his blood sugar was recorded in the 500s, when normal levels are in the area of 100). As a result, his truck cut across two lanes and hit te young girl before proceeding to tear through a field of grass before coming to a halt upon smashing into a tree.
That Barnes’ losing control of his vehicle was most likely the product of his abnormally high blood sugar levels and his subsequent loss of consciousness can not be dismissed; still, and what prosecutors argued was, Barnes should not have been behind the wheel of a car without a valid license, and he should not have had alcohol in his system (which he did, registering a legal .06), for it is well known that alcohol can induce a loss of consciousness in diabetics.
Cases like these are very complicated and require experience and dedication on behalf of the legal defense team. If you’ve been arested for or charged with this or any other crime in Palm Beach, Broward County or Miami-Dade County, please contact our criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert to schedule a free consultation; you can reach us by calling 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363). We look forward to assisting you.