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Disneyland Area Fatal DUI Accident May Lead to Additional Charges

July 28, 2011

An accident recently near Disneyland resulted in three people being hurt and one being killed, The Orange County Register reports.

A charge of DUI in Orange County comes with it a stigma unlike many other crimes. A person charged with DUI often makes the newspaper or television newscast and can suffer damage to reputation, job loss and problems with family. And while some people believe that a person arrested for DUI has no defense, that's simply not true. An experienced Santa Ana DUI Defense Attorney will be able to assess all the facts of the case and determine which pieces of state evidence can be challenged. This is never more critical than when a serious or fatal accident occurs.
According to the news article, the accident happened in the early hours on the southbound I-5 freeway near Disneyland Drive in Anaheim. According to California Highway Patrol, a pickup truck was driving in the third lane "at a high rate of speed" when the 28-year-old female driver switched to the fourth lane and struck the left rear corner of a sedan.

The truck continued west, where it skidded off the main lanes and onto a steep dirt embankment. The driver then allegedly struck part of a bridge and rotated back across several southbound lanes, where it came to rest, according to the CHP.

The male passenger in the truck, also 28, died about three and a half hours after the accident at UCI Medical Center in Orange. The female driver of the truck was charged with suspicion of felony driving under the influence.

The passengers of the sedan were treated for moderate and minor injuries at Western Medical Center.

Cases of serious or fatal accidents can result in years behind bars. An experienced defense lawyer must build a two-prong defense. First by challenging the allegation that the driver was under the influence and then by contesting the assertion that he or she was responsible for causing the accident. If either can be disproven, a defendant will not be convicted of the most serious charges associated with a DUI accident.

In situations where a driver is suspected of a crime after a crash and they are being treated at a hospital, it's sometimes easier for law enforcement to obtain blood testing, which can prove that a person was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash.

But these tests can be dismissed if police didn't follow proper procedures. Same goes for field sobriety testing and breath testing. Any piece of evidence is subject to examination by the defense and can be tossed out with the help of an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney.

In this case, because there was a death, prosecutors may attempt to charge the driver of the truck with vehicular manslaughter. According to the California Penal Code 191.5, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. If gross negligence isn't proven, vehicular manslaughter is punishable by up to 4 years.

If you are facing DUI charges or other felony 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.

More Blog Entries:

Orange County Man Arrested in DUI Crash That Killed 14-Year-Old Cheerleader: June 9, 2011

Additional Resources:

DUI arrest in fatal crash near Disneyland, by Brian Martinez, The Orange County Register