An 18 year old Anaheim man could be facing years in prison for causing the deaths of a father and son while driving under the influence of alcohol in Santa Ana. He is being charged with driving with a blood alcohol level of .13, vehicular manslaughter by an unlawful act causing death with gross negligence while intoxicated and sentencing enhancements for causing great bodily injury. This young man, in addition to DUI, is being accused of running a red light at a high rate of speed, both of which play a role in how severe the sentence will be should he be found guilty.
Vehicular manslaughter is when the death of another is due to illegal driving, including gross negligence, drunk driving, reckless driving or speeding. Vehicular manslaughter can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. There is also something known as gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. The sentence exposure is anywhere from 1 year in jail to 15 years to life in prison. Gross negligence or driving a few miles over the speed limit may be charged as a misdemeanor. But, drunk driving resulting in a death will most likely be filed as a felony.
In this case, this young man’s sentence exposure depends upon whether he pleads guilty to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter or felony vehicular manslaughter. Facts that will be taken into consideration are whether or not he has any prior DUI convictions. Prior convictions of DUI can result in a charge of Second Degree Murder due to the fact that the individual knew the dangers of drunk-driving. Another fact to take into consideration is whether or not he committed an additional wrongful act and reckless driving such as speeding and/or running a red light. All of these issues play a role in determining how the case will be filed. Speeding and/or reckless driving can allow the District Attorney to add sentence enhancements to the charges, which makes penalty exposure more serious.
Fortunately there are legal defenses to Vehicular Manslaughter. An experienced Orange County California DUI Defense Attorney will be familiar with these defenses and the best way to utilize them to get the best result possible. A good DUI defense attorney would look at the validity of the intoxication evidence rather than some other reason for the impairment, as well as the blood or breath test results. Police procedures should always be looked at for possible misconduct. Another approach a good criminal defense attorney will look at is focusing on the accident and subsequent injury. Working with an accident reconstruction expert can help to determine whether the accident that caused the injury was truly the fault of the accused. Factors that a reconstruction expert will look at are things such as weather, road conditions, damage to the vehicles, and any other relevant evidence that is acquired. This is extremely important because, when police arrive at an accident scene where someone has been drinking, it is almost always assumed that the cause of the accident was due to drunk-driving.
If you have been arrested and/or charged with Misdemeanor Vehicular Manslaughter, Felony Vehicular Manslaughter, Gross Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated or Felony DUI in Orange County California, whether involved in an accident or not, you will need a good Orange County California DUI attorney.
If you would like to know more about Driving Under the Influence, Vehicular Manslaughter, Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated, or Gross Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated, contact Orange County California Criminal Defense Attorney William M. Weinberg at his Irvine California office at 949-474-8008.