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Recently in Vehicular Manslaughter Category

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

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.
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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.

Continue reading "Orange County Man Arrested in DUI Crash That Killed 14-Year-Old Cheerleader" »

OC Driver Charged in Fatal DUI Accident in February

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.

Continue reading "OC Driver Charged in Fatal DUI Accident in February" »

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

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.
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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.

Continue reading "Man Sentenced on Vehicular Manslaughter Charge after Road Rage Incident in Santa Ana" »