Last week, Javier Hernandez was convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter while driving under the influence. Gloria Rodriguez, her husband Roman Alvarado and their son Marcos, were all walking along Tyler Street together. Hernandez was driving on that street with a blood alcohol level of .22%, when he accidentally drove off the road.
As Hernandez’s car came towards the three pedestrians. Alvarado saw the car coming and grabbed the baby and tried to climb up a fence, but Rodriguez did not get out of the way in time. She was struck and killed instantly. Hernandez was initially charged with murder since his mother and sister told him not to drive, but he was convicted of the lesser charge of manslaughter instead. He will be sentenced in November.
Juries have consistently convicted defendants of murder if they learn that the defendant had been previously advised that driving drunk could result in someone’s death. This warning frequently comes in the form of an advisement on a guilty plea form the defendant initialed after agreeing to plead guilty in a prior DUI case. Among the many sad lessons here: If a court advises you during a guilty plea that when you drive drunk you could cause an accident that results in death drunk, and you are arrested while DUI, causing the death of another, you may very well be charged with murder.
Since he was convicted of manslaughter, it is unlikely that Hernandez will be sentenced for longer than 10 years since the manslaughter was an accident. He will, however, get a sentencing enhancement because his blood alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit. Whether you live in La Palma, Laguna Niguel or Santa Ana, if you are charged with DUI manslaughter, call an experienced DUI defense attorney to assist you.