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OC Driver Charged in Fatal DUI Accident in February

June 1, 2011

An Orange County man faces charges of murder and DUI, charges that can put him in jail for 21 years to life based partly on his prior convictions, The Los Angeles Times reports.

This tragic story shows how important defending a first-time DUI offense is in California. Santa Ana DUI Lawyers have seen countless cases where a prior conviction, even many years earlier, leads to increased penalties in the future. Aggressively defending the first case can lead to a better resolution in the future.
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In February, a Placentia man allegedly crashed his SUV into a Toyota after driving through a red light in Laguna Niguel. According to authorities, the man lost control of the vehicle and drove it onto a sidewalk, where it struck and killed a woman and her dog. Two people in the Toyota were injured.

According to the news report, the man had two previous DUI convictions, from October 2007 and May 2008, and was on probation at the time of the crash. Police believe the man was under the influence of more than a dozen drugs at the time of the crash. The article states that the man pleaded guilty to both of the prior charges and had to complete a 180-day drug and alcohol program and an 18-month multiple offender alcohol program.

"He was aware of the consequences," said a district attorney's office spokeswoman. "He had just received education that what he did could result in murder."

Obviously, the case is a tragedy. But it's possible that the driver might have avoided such a serious charge had he not pleaded guilty to the previous DUI charges. Had one of those charges been beaten at trial or had a successful plea deal been made to reduce the charge to reckless driving or another less-serious charge, it may have saved him decades in prison, which he now faces.

DUI in Orange County is a serious charge and should be defended aggressively. Dealing with a criminal charge may be frightening, but the charges can be beaten. You should also note that you only have 10 days from an arrest to request a hearing with the California Department of Motor Vehicles to contest your driver's license suspension.

California DUI laws are strict and can require thousands of dollars in fines and fees, DUI school, ignition interlock devices and even jail or prison time. Be smart and fight the charges. Trust experience.

If you are facing DUI charges in Orange County, contact the Law Offices of Vincent J. LaBarbera Jr. to discuss your options. 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.

Previous Blog Entries

Man Sentenced on Vehicular Manslaughter Charge after Road Rage Incident in Santa Ana: April 23, 2011

Cell phone Apps Reveal Location of Drunk Driving Checkpoints in Santa Ana: April 25, 2011

Santa Ana Drunk Driving Charges a St. Patrick's Day Weekend Risk: March 17, 2011