Matthew Cordle, a 22-year-old kid embarking on adulthood, awoke confused
in a hospital bed by police who informed him that he had just killed a
man. It was sobering, in more ways than one. And just like that, life
as he knew it was over. He yelled "I didn't kill anyone, I didn't
do it" and he refused to give a blood sample.
"My name is Matthew Cordle, and on June 22, 2013, I hit and killed
Vincent Canzani," he says somberly. "This video will act as
With the help of defense attorneys, Cordle got into recovery and within
days, on September 3, 2013, made an online video confessing to the crime
that went viral with nearly 3 million views to date. He pleaded guilty,
just as he had promised in the video, and sentencing is set for Oct. 10.
Because he had no prior record, Cordle faces a maximum of 8 1/2 years
in prison and a lifetime revocation of his driving privilege. His blood-alcohol
level was said to have been more than twice the legal limit of 0.08.
The prosecutor said he believed that Cordle's apparent remorse was
genuine. Nevertheless, he is seeking the maximum sentence.
When is a DUI a Felony in Orange County?
Unlike Ohio, where Cordle faces charges, California enforces some of the
harshest driving under the influence (DUI) laws and penalties in the nation. In California, even with no prior DUI
record, a "Watson murder," or "implied malice murder could
be charged when a person drove recklessly, causing the death of another.
And in cases where there is no fatality, in California, DUIs, ordinarily
misdemeanors, can be elevated to felonies in various ways.
Multiple DUI Convictions – There are two ways in which multiple DUI convictions can result in felony
In California, a fourth or subsequent DUI within 10 years can be prosecuted
as a felony offense. Priorable convictions include any DUI conviction,
wet reckless convictions, and out-of-state DUIs.
Individuals will also face felony DUI charges if they are arrested for
DUI after having ever previously been convicted of a felony DUI offense.
This means that if a person has been convicted of a felony DUI –
for any reason and at any time – they will face felony charges,
even if the 10-year look back period has expired and even if the new DUI
involves no aggravating circumstances and is not typically a felony level offense.
DUI Causing Injury – California enforces a distinct criminal offense for individuals who cause
injury while driving intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. Depending
on the circumstances involved in a particular DUI accident – especially
the severity of another's injury – drivers can be prosecuted
for felony crimes including "strikes" under California's
Three Strikes Law if there is "great bodily injury" alleged.
Fatalities – DUIs resulting in the death of another person will result in the most serious
DUI allegations. Depending on the facts of a case, these situations may
result in felony charges for DUI vehicular manslaughter or DUI second-degree murder.
In the last two months alone, three unrelated felony DUI cases (two involving
great bodily injury coupled with priors and one, an under 21 driver; both
with severe and lasting injuries, and one a fatality) have resulted in
no jail time and reduced charges. There are no guarantees. I know; I lost
the Gallo case. But with the right effort and a savvy team dedicated to
the client's protection, a person accused of DUI can stack the deck
in favor of the best possible result.
If you or your loved one is currently facing felony DUI allegations in
Fullerton or any of the surrounding communities of Orange County, please
be aware that time is of the essence. Take proactive measures to protect
your rights, learn more about your defense, and discuss the ways the Law
Offices of Jacqueline Goodman can help. Call (714) 795-3073 or complete a free
case evaluation form to consult with Ms. Goodman personally and get on the road to repair