Earlier this year, two friends, Giao Pham and Andy Lynn, were visiting San Diego from San Francisco. The two men stopped at a local San Diego bar. At the same time and in the same bar, a young San Diego woman, Alondra Marquez, was drinking with her friends. Messrs. Pham and Lynn, recognizing that they shouldn’t drink and drive, decided to take a Lyft back to their hotel. Ms. Marquez, despite her obvious inebriation, decided to drive.
In a tragic irony, Ms. Marquez, driving over 100 mph and with a blood alcohol level2 to 3 times higher than the lawful amount of 0.08%, slammed into the Lyft vehicle in which Messrs. Pham and Lynn were riding, killing Mr. Pham and severely injuring Mr. Lynn. It was reported that Ms. Marquez’s friends tried to stop her from driving, but she insisted she was okay to drive. The irony does not stop at the coincidence that both parties, unknown to each other, but whose fates were intertwined, were drinking at the same bar at the same time. The sadder irony is that the responsible drinker, Mr. Pham, ended up as another DUI fatality, while the irresponsible Ms. Marquez, while seriously injured, is alive.
It came out in court that Ms. Marquez, at the young age of 22, has a serious substance abuse problemthat started when she was in the eighth grade. This puts her at high risk of another DUI, but not very soon—she first has to spend time in prison.
Just last week, I blogged about California lawthat exposes DUI offenders to a second-degree murder chargewhen their alcohol-impaired driving results in the death of another. In Ms. Marquez’s case, she pleaded guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter—not as serious as second-degree murder, but serious enough to land her a sentence of over 13 years in prison. Hopefully, she will receive meaningful and beneficial substance abuse help in prison.
Ms. Marquez is not a “bad” person; she didn’t set out to kill someone. She clearly showed remorse in court and told the victims’ families that she deserved punishment. That’s just the thing: unlike many other crimes, DUI crimes are ones of irresponsible neglect, not intentional wrongdoing. No doubt, the brain under the influence of alcoholis a poor decision-maker, and this case is a reminder that if you plan to drink, your first planshould be how you will get there without driving and more importantly, how you will get home without driving.
Orange County DUI defense attorney understands that his DUI clients are not bad people, they are just people who made bad decisions, and perhaps suffer from an addiction. Whether the charge is simply a first-time DUI or a second-degree murder charge, Mr. Weinberg addresses each case individually. If he believes his client will benefit from treatment or an alternative DUI court hearing, he will forcefully advocate that his client needs help more than punishment. Mr. Weinberg, with over 25 years of defending DUI cases and hundreds of successful outcomes, promises to fight for your rights under the law.
Attorney Weinberg offers a free consultation regarding your DUI matter. He will review the specifics of your arrest and the charges and give you a fair assessment of your options. He may be reached by calling his Irvine office at 949-474-8008 or by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.