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Tampa Man Acquitted of DUI Manslaughter, Gets Probation for DUI
James Braley of Tampa was sentenced to spend a year on probation last week after being acquitted of DUI manslaughter but found guilty of midemeanor DUI with property damage. Six months of Braley’s probation will be spent on house arrest or jail work-release.
Pursuant to the terms of his probation, Braley must give up his drivers license for six months, perform 50 hours of community service, drink no alcohol, submit to breath tests and pay a $500 fine. He had no prior criminal record.
According to prosecutors, Braley was intoxicated on October 28, 2007 when he rear-ended another car on I-75. A third car crashed into the scene of the accident. That third car struck and killed a man who had run to help the first two cars and their occupants.
Braley was charged with driving under the influence manslaughter for that man’s death, on the theory that the initial crash indirectly caused the death. A jury acquitted Braley of that charge after trial but found him guilty of a lesser charge of DUI with property damage instead (this is often referred to as a “lesser included offense” and allows prosecutors to charge with a higher-level crime but offer the jury the option of convicting the defendant of a less serious offense if the most serious offense is not proved by the state). His blood-alcohol level was 0.219, according to authorities. Florida law presumes intoxication when blood-alcohol level rises to 0.08.
The maximum possible sentence for the misdemeanor DUI was a year in jail.
The driver of the car which struck the Good Samaritan was also intoxicated and is now serving a five-year prison sentence for DUI manslaughter.