Vehicular Manslaughter

Orange County Violent Crimes Attorney

Vehicular homicide involving a DUI carries the threat of serious penalties upon conviction. If you have been charged with or are under investigation for a drunk driving accident which resulted in the death of another person - which is known as a "Watson Murder" in our state - it is very likely that you are facing penalties that have caused you many sleepless nights. It is time to take a step toward protecting your rights, your freedom and your future. It is time to speak with a dedicated Orange County criminal defense attorney.

When you contact an attorney from the Law Offices of Jacqueline Goodman, you are enlisting the help of a professional who will work tirelessly to build an effective vehicular manslaughter defense for your case that will help you avoid serious consequences including prison, fines and a criminal record that would follow you for years. Our firm is known for getting results, and with 20 years of experience, we are ready to take on any case, no matter how challenging.

Types of Vehicular Manslaughter

Our legal team is highly skilled in the two areas of law that comprise a vehicular manslaughter defense: DUI and homicide. In building a defense for your case, an attorney from our team will analyze all elements of the stop and resulting arrest, including search issues, Miranda rights, field sobriety tests and blood alcohol tests. We place the burden of proof on the prosecution, requiring the District Attorney to overcome all weaknesses in the case to prove that you were the driver who caused the accident.

The penalties for these cases are defined under Penal Code 192(c) PC, and this offense is a wobbler offense. This means that the district attorneys may opt to charge you with either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of your specific case and your criminal history, especially in regards to your previous DUI convictions.

Some of the penalties for a felony DUI with injury in the state of California include sixteen months to four years in the California State Prison, and the possibility of an additional and consecutive prison sentence of three to six years depending on how many people you have injured and the extent of their injuries. You may also receive a possible "strike" on your record because of California's Three Strike's Law, as well as up to $10,000 in fines. Some offenders may also be sentenced to an 18 to 30 month alcohol/drug program and may have a Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) status for three years.

There are also specific penalties for cases that are categorized under Penal Code 191.5(a) California's "gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated law". You may violate this law when you have acted with "gross negligence", which essentially is an "I don't care what happens" type of attitude. This case is always a felony in California and the penalties may include up to 10 years in California State Prison, or fifteen years to life in state prison if you have two or more prior DUI convictions.

About the Watson Murder Rule

In our state, when a drunk driving accident results in the death of a person, regardless of whether the victim was in another vehicle, in the car with the drunk driver, driving a motorcycle, riding a bicycle or walking, it is referred to as a Watson Murder. The Watson Murder Rule involves the theory of "implied malice," so the prosecution may attempt to use the fact that a DUI suspect has previously been convicted of drunk driving to prove demonstrate that the act was not merely an accident but an act of malice. This charge is usually reserved for repeat DUI offenders, which are typically people who have been educated as to the dangers of driving under the influence.

Orange County Defense Attorney

Our firm, the Law Offices of Jacqueline Goodman, represents clients in Fullerton and all throughout Orange County. Call today for a free case evaluation, or complete our online evaluation form to get started. We understand the serious nature of these DUI charges and we will devote the personal time and attention that your case deserves and needs. Once we review your situation, we could help you take the first steps in your defense.

Contact us today to learn how you could find freedom from your criminal charges.