For the past 10 years, there have been over a thousand alcohol crash-related fatalities in California per year. If you are involved in a case like this, you need an experienced, qualified drug crimes defense lawyer in California.
Driving under the influence is a serious matter, and in some cases, it can result in death. Crashes that occur under the influence of alcohol can result in serious penalties, especially if they result in death.
Here are some important facts to know about DUI-related deaths.
2 Questions About DUI Resulting in Death
If you were involved in a DUI accident involving death, you might have questions about the situation and what it means for you, both legally and in terms of potential penalties.
Here are answers to some of the most pressing questions related to DUI accidents that have caused death.
1. Does Conviction Mean Prison?
A DUI conviction doesn’t inherently mean prison time. In fact, most misdemeanor DUIs entail time in the county jail rather than prison.
However, after the first three DUIs, the minimum sentence increases to six months, with a maximum sentence of one year. Felony DUIs typically carry harsher penalties, with a minimum sentence of one year in state prison.
Having a lawyer on your side can help you avoid prison and the worst possible outcomes. A legal professional can help you strike a favorable plea bargain and argue in your favor.
2. How Does a Prosecutor Prove the Elements of DUI Murder?
It is possible for a prosecutor to attempt to prove that a DUI deserves a charge of murder. It’s also called a Watson murder.
A prosecutor must prove all elements of DUI murder in court. The defendant must have a prior DUI conviction in order for the prosecution to seek a Watson murder conviction.
First, they must prove that the defendant committed an intentional act that took a human life. Next, they must prove that their actions were inherently dangerous to other humans on the road. Finally, they must prove that the defendant had a conscious disregard for the potential outcomes of their actions.
In this situation, they must prove that you were intoxicated with a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit, that you intended to drive, and that you were aware of the potential consequences of drunk driving.
Three Possible Charges for DUI in California Resulting in Death
When someone is convicted of a DUI incident resulting in death, there are several possible outcomes. The final conviction depends on the nature of the crime as well as the court’s view of what has happened.
All of these are serious crimes with severe penalties, but some involve more jail time or steeper fines. Some defendants may face additional charges, like having to pay restitution for the victim’s and their family’s losses. They all involve a long license suspension as well.
When it comes to drug crimes that have different possible outcomes, it is essential to seek legal counsel from an expert.
DUI Vehicular Manslaughter – Misdemeanor
In some situations, vehicular manslaughter can be considered a misdemeanor. The maximum misdemeanor sentence is a year-long jail sentence and a fine of $1000. It also includes a year-long temporary loss of license.
The license suspension may be longer than a year. The conviction comes to pass when a person drives under the influence, and their actions result in death.
DUI Vehicular Manslaughter – Felony
The defendant’s blood alcohol level, as well as any drugs present in their system, will determine if the DUI-related killing is considered a felony with harsh penalties.
A blood alcohol content (BAC) twice the legal limit, for example, may cause a prosecutor to treat a case like a felony.
The maximum felony jail sentence is up to four years in prison and a fine of $10,000. If drugs were involved, the maximum sentence is six years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Gross DUI Vehicular Manslaughter
Gross vehicular manslaughter carries some of the steepest penalties, and they are much harsher than a standard DUI or even DUI vehicular manslaughter.
If you are convicted of this crime, you face a minimum prison sentence of anywhere from 10 years to life. There will also be a fine of $10,000.
What is a Watson DUI Murder?
A Watson DUI murder is a situation when the prosecution decides to pursue a case as a second-degree murder.
This type of case can only occur if the defendant has already had a DUI charge and has been given the Watson admonition, which explicitly tells drunk drivers that if they continue to drive while intoxicated, they may face charges of murder.
However, if the defendant was not given this speech, they would not usually face murder charges.
The prosecution must prove that the defendant showed a disregard for life and was, in fact, aware of the risks of drunk driving. That knowledge is what tips a drunk driving incident into murder in the eyes of the law.
There may be additional penalties for survivors who face issues like permanent disfigurement, arm injury, and other life-altering effects.
LibertyBell Law Group is Your Sound Legal Defense for DUI Resulting in Death
If you are involved in a DUI accident that resulted in death, hiring a drug crimes defense lawyer in California will help you protect yourself and even avoid jail time. The right lawyer will take extra steps like hiring an accident reconstruction expert witness who can show what really happened.
LibertyBell Law Group is known for its dedication to helping all clients avoid jail time and negative consequences. We work hard to get a charge reduction and other positive results.
Schedule a consultation so we can discuss a legal plan for your case, you may contact us at 877-545-3559 at LibertyBell Law Group today!
At A Glance
Executive Managing Attorney Gina Tennen is a renowned leading advocate of personal liberties. Her meticulous trial preparation and exceptional ability to pursue every possible defense has earned her the admiration of clients and respect from prosecutors, judges, and other criminal attorneys all over the nation.
Lawyer Tennen began her career as a Senior Law Clerk for one of the toughest District Attorney’s offices in the country where she gained remarkable experience in juvenile crimes, elder abuse, parole hearings, child abuse, sex and other serious crimes. Her experience at the District Attorney’s Office armed her knowledge and case strategy in exploiting the other side’s weaknesses for the client’s advantage and building a rock solid defense. Criminal attorney Tennen’s experience on both sides and brilliant maneuvering throughout is evidenced in her winning track record. In fact, even before earning her law degree, she was instrumental in getting excellent results on several criminal cases outshining her peers.
A consummate strategist and top criminal attorney, lawyer Tennen works tirelessly on many high profile criminal cases. She is known as a relentless fighter who never gives up on any case. Whether the case is hers or handled by another criminal defense attorney from LibertyBell Law Group, no matter how small the case may seem she asserts that every client deserves the right to the best legal representation.
It is her deep belief and what she has built her entire career and lifelong dedication to that there is always hope for every client and every avenue should be pursued regardless of the time and energy it takes. For criminal attorney, Gina Tennen, devoting the finest criminal defense for clients is a habit and talent that you must apply and do all the time.
You demand the best defense. Take hold of your life and speak to our defense attorneys by calling 855-LAW-PRO1 (855-529-7761) now.
Founder Gina Tennen and all the sex offender attorneys at LibertyBell Law Group uphold that when the bell rings, it rings for life and liberty for all.
REQUEST A FREE CONSULTATION
Gina was like a lioness protecting her cub.
I hired Gina and her team for my son who was facing 10 years for something they said he did when he was 17 years old. Gina was like a lioness protecting her cub. She did not stop. She fought hard and was able to defend the charges. We are so grateful to her and her team. They gave us our son. He recovered his life!– L. W.
Best defense lawyers in the country.
I hired this law firm in 2014 for my son who was facing 16 years in prison for a felony robbery. Lina Helou answered all our questions. I was extremely distraught regarding what my son was facing but Lina comforted me and told me that it would be okay. And thank goodness LibertyBell saved my son from going to jail and they were able to obtain only 3 years of probation. I could not have hired a better law firm for my son and if you want the best defense call LibertyBell Law Group. Thank God for this great group of lawyers.– V. J.
A great team of lawyers.
I do not have enough words to describe how incredible the experience with this firm was. They work very hard to make sure you have winning results. I could not have asked for better service from the moment I called, until my case was over. I was glad I made the right choice. Thank you again LibertyBell Law Group!– S. O.
She took her time to review all of my evidence and proved my innocence.
My father had found this group through his company and coworkers. I was assigned Gina Tennen and I cannot explain in just a review on how gratefull I am to be working with her. My case was an accusation of unlawful sex. This had looked extremely bad on my part since I was in a fraternity and she was in a sorority. During these times with Greek life, there are too many bad stigmas surrounding these organizations. Gina had believed in me and knew that I was innocent and that these accusations just were not true. She took her time to review all of my evidence and proved my innocence. I totally recommend this law group because they are willing to put in the work to help your situation.– C. D.
Gina always kept me fully aware of how the case was proceeding.
When I first heard I was under a criminal investigation, I initially thought I would try and resolve this in the best way possible, without legal representation, as we were all interested in a "just" outcome. I quickly discovered that was not the case and contacted Gina at LibertyBell. She clearly described the expectations and the choices available to me. She was always available to me, and when I called, if she couldn't talk with me at that time, she would quickly get back to me. Gina always kept me fully aware of how the case was proceeding. Her fee's were stipulated up front, as well as what those fees covered and what they did not.– S. B.
Attorney Gina Tennen was on point from day one.
Attorney Gina Tennen was on point from day one putting pressure on the sherrif's office to get things handled. With Child molestation accusatinos being thrown around Gina and Attorney Castro were great at keeping the pressure on and had no charges filled. The DCFS indications were appealed and we won with flying colors. Great service, great work, and will use again for all legal matters.– A. B.
Will Recommend, Total Experience, Awesome Team
Being involved in legal matters can be scary. When researching who to put my trust in, I came across Liberty and I am glad that I did. From the first time that I met with Gina and her team she made me feel comfortable and listened to all that I had to say. She assured me that her team would be on it and that they would do everything that they could! A little while in, Alan took over my case. When meeting with him you can tell that this is his passion and I immediately knew he was going to do everything in his power to make the outcome right! He was relentless and worked day and night working on the case. He kept in constant communication with me and truly cared not only about me but about my family as well. I am forever grateful for the support that this whole team has given me and would definitely recommend them to anyone who is looking for truly the best lawyers!– L. B.