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Orange County Man Arrested in DUI Crash That Killed 14-Year-Old Cheerleader

June 9, 2011

A 26-year-old man is being held on $1 million bond on charges of murder and DUI causing great bodily injury in the recent death of a freshman cheerleader at Irvine's Northwood High School, the Orange County Register reports.

There's no doubt that DUI in Orange County can be a devastating and potentially fatal crime. But in many DUI cases where driver's re-offend, the initial charges can be very important. Hiring an experienced Santa Ana DUI Lawyer is vital in such cases. Too often, when a driver involved in a serious or fatal accident is accused of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, he or she is faulted for the crash with little or no investigation. An experienced law firm will take a look at the facts and may even consult with accident reconstruction experts. It's vital that an aggressive defense be prepared against both the DUI charge and the allegation that you were responsible for the accident. If either can be disproven, you will not be convicted of the most serious charges associated with a serious or fatal drunk driving crash.
In the Irvine case according to news reports, the 26-year-old was drinking with his girlfriend the evening before the crash and took a cab to a friend's house. There, he got the truck he had left at the house and drove his girlfriend to get food.

According to prosecutors, he made an illegal left turn against a red arrow at Culver Drive and Irvine Boulevard, hitting the driver's side of a sedan carrying four girls and a parent. The 14-year-old was killed and a friend critically injured.

Prosecutors say the man appeared disoriented, smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and had trouble keeping balance. the District Attorney's Office said his blood-alcohol level was .20, more than twice the legal limit of .08.

And because he had previously pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and other charges, he was aware that killing someone while driving under the influence can result in a murder charge. Because the man has several previous alcohol-related charges and convictions on his record, it's possible prosecutors have sought the most serious charge in our criminal justice system. he faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, the newspaper reports.

This shows why fighting a DUI charge for a first-time offender is critical. Breathalyzer results are inherently unreliable and in many places, including Southern California, charges are being dropped because the results come out incorrect. And those results should always be vigorously challenged by a qualified DUI attorney. Field sobriety testing is almost always done in DUI investigations and sometimes officers aren't property trained in how to perform these tests.

There are many aspects of a DUI case than can be challenged and exploited, but it requires the experienced skills of a seasoned attorney to determine which areas can be challenged and how best to go about doing it. And a DUI conviction can mean loss of driving privileges, which can bring great hardship on a person who drives for a living or must drive to get to work. Fighting these charges is imperative.

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.