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Man Sentenced on Vehicular Manslaughter Charge after Road Rage Incident in Santa Ana

April 23, 2011

A 31-year-old Santa Ana man has been sentenced to more than a decade behind bars after being convicted of voluntary manslaughter in Orange County in connection with a road rage incident, the Register reported.

A vehicular manslaughter defense lawyer in Santa Ana should always handle such cases. Voluntary manslaughter is about intent. Likewise, road rage cases are about intent. If the prosecutor cannot prove a driver intended to commit a crime (or acted with conscious disregard for human life), he or she cannot be convicted of voluntary manslaughter.
In other words, an accidental act is a defense to voluntary manslaughter. As such, it is important to speak to a defense lawyer before providing any statements to law enforcement. These cases often rely heavily on the statements of the parties involved and what you have to say could end up assisting prosecutors in securing your conviction. Penalties for conviction include 3 to 11 years behind bars.

Many people confuse aggressive driving with road rage. Aggressive driving involves driving behaviors of which most of us are guilty from time to time -- speeding, tailgating and failure to use a turn signal. Road rage involves a criminal act.

The defendant agreed to plead no contest to voluntary manslaughter; prosecutors had originally charged him with murder in the wake of the deadly April 2009 incident, which occurred on the 605 freeway in Long Beach. While it's unclear what started the argument, both the defendant and a 53-year-old driver stopped their cars and got out on the off-ramp.

Conflicting witness accounts have the two men striking each other. The defendant then reportedly got back into his car and rammed the victim's Ford Escort, pinning him against the door. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The defendant had faced life in prison on the murder charge. Under the current sentence, he will be eligible for parole in less than eight years.

If you are facing manslaughter charges in Santa Ana, contact the Law Offices of Vincent J. LaBarbera Jr. to discuss your rights. Through three decades of experienced, Attorney LaBarbera has argued over 200 criminal trials and appeals. Call (714) 541-9668 for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights.