DUI & Vehicular Manslaughter

DUI &Vehicular Manslaughter

Orange County DUI Lawyer in Irvine & Laguna Hills

Driving under the influence cases normally are filed as misdemeanors and are based upon two possible violations of the Vehicle Code. Section 23152(a) is a law making it a misdemeanor to drive while "impaired." Impaired driving is determined by how the driver is performing on the road, such as straddling lanes, swerving or hitting something. The driver's blood alcohol level under this section is not a factor. Most times, a driver is arrested for two DUI violations, the other one being a violation of Vehicle Code Section 23152(b). This section is based upon a driver having a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or greater.

Under both the "impaired" driving section and the 0.08 law there is lots of room for defending a case. One can have a blood alcohol level well above 0.08 and still not violate the 0.08 law. This can happen if a lot of alcohol was consumed shortly before driving, and by the time the blood test was taken, the level had climbed to over 0.08. It is the blood alcohol level at the time of driving that matters!

DUI charges have a negative effect on many things. They can cost a job which requires driving. They cause insurance rates to skyrocket. The fines are high and the DUI classes are time-consuming and expensive. Finally, many prosecutors want to send you to jail even for your first DUI. Do not represent yourself on a DUI.

Defining Vehicular Manslaughter in California

Vehicular manslaughter is the charge brought when a person—because of negligence or gross negligence—causes the death of another person. This can include a driver killing his or her passenger, a driver killing another driver or passenger, or a driver killing a pedestrian.

This crime can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor might be charged if a driver takes a corner too quickly and rolls the vehicle, killing someone inside. There are many other examples.

Vehicular manslaughter is charged as a felony when “gross negligence” is involved in causing the death. Gross negligence is the state of mind of a driver who simply does not care what happens to his passengers, other drivers, or pedestrians when he or she decides to drive in a very reckless manner or while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Though a manslaughter caused by drunk driving can also be charged as a misdemeanor, this rarely happens.

In California, a person with a prior DUI who drives drunk again and kills a person can be charged with murder. Murder charges are being filed with increasingly greater frequency as organizations like MADD demand harsher treatment of drunk drivers.

A good trial lawyer is essential in any vehicular manslaughter case, because these cases often go to a jury trial. Proving a vehicular manslaughter case requires the District Attorney (DA) to show, by way of an accident reconstruction, that you were actually negligent or grossly negligent. A good defense lawyer can poke a lot of holes in that reconstruction effort through cross-examination and by presenting testimony from your own reconstruction expert.

Penalties

Misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter carries up to a year in jail. Felony vehicular manslaughter carries up to 10 years in prison! With good negotiation, your lawyer can convince the DA to reduce the felony to a misdemeanor for purposes of a plea bargain, depending upon how strong the DA’s case is.

If the manslaughter involves drugs or alcohol, it is essential to have a lawyer who understands the science of DUI charges, and how to defend against the crime lab experts who will testify about the drug or alcohol content in your blood.

Attorney Mark McDonald had tried many vehicular manslaughter cases, and very successfully.

Call a DUI/Vehicular Manslaughter Lawyer in Orange County

Because the consequences of a Vehicular Manslaughter conviction can be so severe, it is vital that you or your loved one enlist an attorney who knows by experience how to defend you effectively. If you or your loved one have a pending Vehicular Manslaughter case, contact this Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer and consult with him about how best to proceed. We have had great success over the years both in Irvine and Laguna Hills defending vehicular manslaughter cases.

Call an Irvine criminal defense lawyer to see what your best defense might be. Consultations are free.