California is one of the states where you can be found guilty of murder – second-degree murder – if you cause another person’s death because you are driving under the influence. In the Los Angeles area, if you are charged with DUI or any DUI-related offense, arrange at once to speak with an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer. When a DUI in California results in a fatality, the driver will probably face one of three felony charges: second-degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, or vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. If you are convicted on one of these charges, time in prison is almost certain, but to be convicted of second-degree murder in a DUI case in California, a prosecutor must prove that the crime included three elements:

  • That the death was the result of the suspect’s intentional act.
  • That the natural consequences of that act are dangerous to human life.
  • That the suspect knowingly acted with a conscious disregard of those consequences.

A conviction for D.U.I. second-degree murder does not mean that you consciously intended to kill someone. Rather, it simply means that you acted with “implied malice,” a conscious disregard for other persons’ lives. California law makes a distinction between “malice” in a D.U.I. second-degree murder case and “gross negligence” in a D.U.I. vehicular manslaughter case. Second-degree murder requires malice, while manslaughter requires only a “conscious indifference to the consequences” of your actions.

Of course, no one in California wants to be found guilty of any D.U.I. charge. The best solution – as everyone knows – is to avoid drinking alcohol entirely if you’re going to be driving, even if you just have a sip. If you are facing a D.U.I. charge now or in the future in the Los Angeles area – whether it’s a first-offense misdemeanor or a serious felony offense with injuries or fatalities, you’re going to need legal help as quickly as possible, so don’t wait. Call an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer at once.

The Other Victims Of Driving Under the Influence

A DUI tragedy out of central Florida recently made national news when one of nine children in a van died near Bradenton because the woman driving the van was reportedly intoxicated. In another story, a 31-year-old woman in Kansas was arrested in February for her fifth D.U.I., but it’s the fourth time she’s been charged for DUI with children in her vehicle. It’s bad enough to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but when you do it with children as passengers, it’s considerably worse. If you’re convicted of D.U.I. in California, and you have one or more children in your vehicle, you’ll receive additional punishment – an “enhancement” – with your DUI sentence.

However, if you’re accused of DUI in the Los Angeles area, remember that a charge is not the equivalent of a conviction, and the state still must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Contact an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer for the legal help and defense representation you are very much going to need after a DUI arrest. If you are convicted for a misdemeanor DUI and a child under age 14 is in your vehicle, you will serve not only your DUI sentence but an additional 48 hours in jail if it’s your first DUI offense, and an additional ten days in jail if it’s your second DUI offense. Subsequent offenses result in longer jail terms.

The typical DUI offender is a regular person who hasn’t hurt anyone in spite of making a poor choice to drive while intoxicated. However, if you’re looking at a fifth or sixth D.U.I. – or if you regularly drink, drive, and bring your kids along – you may need medical treatment for alcohol dependency. If you’re a parent, it’s no longer about you – it’s about your children. Vast resources are available in Los Angeles – for those at every income level – to help you deal with substance abuse and its consequences. If you’re charged with D.U.I. in Los Angeles, call an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer at once, but if you need medical or psychological treatment for alcohol dependency, seek help immediately.

Consequences of DUI Convictions

In 2011, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill (AB) 109, historic legislation that was designed to close the revolving door of low-level inmates cycling in and out of state prisons. Nevertheless, AB 109 may also be responsible for the lack of jail time that DUI offenders are receiving in Kern County and other counties throughout California. AB 109 shifted the job of jailing many low-risk inmates from state prisons to county jails. The state continues to imprison those who’ve committed serious, violent, or sexual crimes, but the counties now manage low-level, nonviolent offenders.

Of course, if you’re like most of us, you very much want to avoid serving in either a county jail or a state prison. If you’re charged with DUI in the Los Angeles area, speak with an experienced Los Angeles D.U.I. defense attorney about handling your case fighting for justice on your behalf. The law in California says that a first-offense D.U.I. conviction is punishable by up to 6 months in jail, but because of overcrowding in some county jails, authorities have limited options. “AB 109 cuts down the number of beds and you can’t let the rapist, child molester, or murderer out. But you have to let someone out,” Kern County Supervising Deputy District Attorney Ken Green told KERO News. “It sends the wrong message. We want people to know they have consequences” for driving under the influence.

Jail is only one potential consequence of a DUI conviction; offenders also face fines, a driver’s license suspension, probation, and court-ordered attendance at DUI classes. Obviously, the best way to avoid DUI consequences is simply to not drink before driving. If you do drink, call a taxicab or a car service or have a designated driver. If you are charged with DUI in or near the Los Angeles area, do not wait to make the call. Obtain legal help at once and call an experienced Los Angeles DUI defense attorney immediately.

By: Douglas Miranda

Los Angeles criminal attorney Douglas Miranda graduated with honors from California State University, Los Angeles, and earned his J.D. from Western State College of Law in Fullerton. Since his admission to practice law in California, he has received special training and certification in forensic science, jury selection, and sex crime defense. Mr. Miranda also helps clients terminate their probations early and expunge their criminal records.

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