Can I Get in Trouble for Letting a Friend Drive Drunk?

One Saturday night in Glastonbury, Ct., a few high school teenagers went to a party. As Saturday night turned to Sunday morning, four 16-year old boys and one 17-year old girl named Jane Modlesky left together. One-by-one, each of the boys drove themselves to their destination until only Jane was left in the vehicle. Then, Jane got behind the wheel and attempted to drive herself home. However, she didn’t make it more than half a mile down the road until she crashed into a tree. On Sunday morning, July 14, 2013, the 17-year old high school student was found dead, and the community was shocked. Later, Jane’s blood alcohol content was found to be a staggering .27, which was 13 times the limit in Connecticut for someone under the age of 21.

Five months later on December 6, 2013, the last two boys in the vehicle with Jane were charged with allegedly allowing her to drive drunk. According to the Agent James Kennedy of the Glastonbury Police Department, the last two boys knew Jane was “highly intoxicated” and allowed her to drive anyway. As tragic as this story was, it’s a reality: if you knowingly allow your friends to drive drunk, you could be criminally charged.

Although this incident happened in Connecticut, DUI attorneys in Tallahassee are well aware of the notion of culpable negligence. As a result, it’s imperative to have an experienced Tallahassee attorney work in your best interests if you are ever charged with allowing your friend drive drunk. Continue reading to learn more about culpable negligence.

Can I Get Into Trouble for Letting My Friend Drive Drunk?

An increasing number of states across the nation are now prosecuting those who let their friends drive drunk and end up in a crash involving an injury or death. In the majority of states, this is called culpable negligence. Culpable negligence is the process of showing a course of action that clearly demonstrates reckless disregard for human life. In other words, if your actions or inaction demonstrates gross negligence and exposes others to harm, you could be held criminally liable for this. Because culpable negligence is highly subjective, it’s important to have an experienced Tallahassee DUI attorney or Tallahassee criminal defense attorney protect your interests.

Culpable Negligence Fines & Penalties

Under Section 748.05, Florida Statutes, a Tallahassee attorney can argue culpable negligence when the following two elements are met:

  1. The accused individual exposed someone to personal injury or actually inflicted personal injury or criminally assaulted the person.
  2. The accused individual caused this harm with “culpable negligence.”

It’s important to have an experienced Tallahassee criminal defense attorney defend your rights against this charge. If you are charged for culpable negligence, you could be charged with:

  • Second Degree Misdemeanor Culpable Negligence - If the acts of culpable negligence simply “expose” others to danger and there isn’t injury, it’s likely it will be a second degree misdemeanor. This charge is punishable with up to 60 days in jail.
  • First Degree Misdemeanor Culpable Negligence - In the event your culpable negligence actually injures someone else, you could be charged with a first degree misdemeanor. In Florida, the first degree misdemeanor charge of culpable negligence could result in up to one year of jail time.
  • Third Degree Felony Culpable Negligence - In the event the accused’s negligence results in the someone’s death, it could be classified as a third degree felony. A third degree felony carries a fine of up to five years imprisonment.


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