A drunk driver caused a three-car accident on the 91 Freeway in Anaheim after crashing into the center divider. When the woman driver attempted to flee the scene, she put her vehicle in reverse and in doing so crashed into another car, which then was hit by yet another vehicle. There were 5 people involved in the collisions and all five were taken to the hospital. The two individuals in the third car were ejected from their vehicle and seriously injured. It is important to point out that the driver of the second car was also determined to be driving drunk and arrested at the scene.
Being charged with a DUI in Orange County, California can have a devastating effect on a person’s life. As I have discussed in previous blogs, Orange County is extremely strict when it comes to driving under the influence. But, in this particular situation, it becomes much more serious due to the fact that there were accidents with injuries involved. Whenever someone is arrested for DUI with injuries, the prosecution can file the charges as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending upon the circumstances. This case will most likely be charged as a felony due to the severity of the accident and injuries of the passengers that were ejected from their vehicle. The district attorney will also look at the defendant’s past history to determine whether or not she has any prior convictions for driving under the influence. A prior history would substantially affect the charges in this case.
Anytime there is an automobile accident and alcohol is involved, most officers on the scene automatically assume that the person who had been drinking caused the accident. While this would be a plausible assumption, it is not always the case. There are many circumstances that could have contributed to the accident. Road conditions, weather, illness, and in some cases, the actions of another other driver.
In this particular situation, it was reported that the driver of the second car involved was also driving drunk and arrested. This is a good opportunity for a defense lawyer to hire an accident reconstruction expert to determine who was actually at fault. If it is determined that driver number two was at fault, or contributed to the accident, then the woman who initially crashed into the center divider may only be charged with misdemeanor dui with accident.
For this reason, it is recommended that anyone involved with an alcohol-related accident consult with an experienced DUI defense lawyer to determine whether or not there may be a good defense available to the charge of DUI with injuries.
If however, the evidence is overwhelmingly against the defendant, then a good experienced defense attorney, who has a good relationship with the Judges, Court staff and District Attorney Office, will begin trying to have the charges reduced to misdemeanors, if filed as a felony, and mitigate the sentence exposure the defendant may have. There are sentencing alternatives that a good attorney will recommend in order to keep their client out of jail.