DUI &Vehicular Manslaughter
San Bernardino and Riverside DUI Lawyer
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.
California Penalties for DUI Vehicular Manslaughter
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
Call a DUI Lawyer in San Bernardino
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 San Bernardino
and Riverside Criminal Defense Lawyer and consult with him about how best
to proceed. We have had great success over the years both in San Bernardino,
Riverside, and the while Inland Empire defending vehicular manslaughter cases.