A 29 year old Santa Ana man was convicted of vehicular manslaughter after an accident he caused resulted in the death of another Orange County man. The 29 year old man, who has a prior DUI conviction, was intoxicated when his vehicle ran out of gas on the freeway, causing a three-car collision. His blood alcohol level was 0.20, approximately two hours after the accident, which is about two and a half times the legal limit.
Vehicular Manslaughter, while intoxicated, is a felony punishable up to 10 years in State Prison. However, this Orange County man received the more severe sentence of 13 years in State Prison due to some specific circumstances. In California, we have what is known as DUI Sentence Enhancements. This means that his sentence will be increased, depending upon the enchancement(s). Sentence enhancements in DUI cases include, prior convictions, a blood alcohol level of .15 or higher, test refusal and speeding and/or reckless dirving. In this case, the defendant had a prior conviction of DUI, a blood alcohol of .20 and what may have been considered reckless driving for allowing his vehicle to run out of gas in the middle of the freeway. Therefore, enhancements were imposed.
Fortunately, there are defenses to Felony DUI, or Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated. In this situation, a good Orange County DUI Attorney should have looked at the possible defenses to vehicular manslaughter. Challenging the validity of the breath or blood test results, as well as challenging police procedures and/or misconduct must always be looked at. Some other defenses to Vehicular Manslaughter while Intoxicated include: Rather than gross negligence, that the defendant acted with regular negligence; That the negligence what not wat caused the death. That the acts of another person or forces beyond your control such as road conditions or weather were the cause of the accident and/or death. Accident Reconstruction Experts are often used when this type of defense is being offered.