Facing Murder Charges after a Fatal Motor Vehicle Accident
California drivers involved in serious or fatal accidents may be charged with serious crimes if accused of driving recklessly or driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs at the time of an accident. On June 26, the L.A. Times reported two separate cases involving fatal traffic accidents and alleged drunk driving. In one case, a Los Angeles County woman faces murder charges for running a red light and allegedly killing a young girl, and in the other, a woman has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after being involved in a fatal traffic accident. If the DUI charge holds, she could be charged with murder as well.
California Vehicular Homicide Charges
In California, an alleged murder related to the reckless or intoxicated operation of a vehicle is charged as vehicular homicide, and like all homicide crimes, a conviction carries serious penalties. For example, the Los Angeles County woman faces 15 years to life in prison upon conviction. Unlike many homicide crimes, however, prosecutors do not need to prove a defendant’s harmful intent in vehicular homicide cases. Rather, it is often enough to establish that a driver was reckless or intoxicated at the time a fatal accident occurred.
This presumption regarding liability can make vehicular manslaughter cases very challenging for defendants and lawyers, but a skilled California criminal defense attorney knows how to go about mitigating or defeating these charges. In some cases, various factors may have caused or contributed to an accident, and some of these factors may have been entirely unrelated to a driver’s alleged intoxication.
The Los Angeles County woman who is charged with vehicular homicide struck pedestrians who were crossing a street at a marked crosswalk. But what if the pedestrians had been jaywalking or crossing against a red light? If such were the case, the pedestrians’ behavior may have caused or contributed to the accident, casting doubt on a defendant’s culpability.
Seek Advice from a Rancho Cucamonga DUI Lawyer
If you live in Southern California and have been accused of drunk driving in an accident that resulted in serious injury or death to another person, do not hesitate to contact Rancho Cucamonga criminal defense attorney John D. Lueck. The consequences of being convicted of a vehicular assault or homicide crime are severe, even if you have never been charged with a crime before. Do not let an accident change your life forever.