Orange County Vehicular Manslaughter Defense Attorney
Even though charges of vehicular manslaughter may seem like a DUI charge, it is crucial to understand that this is actually a charge related to homicide. It is important to understand the case against you, even if you were drinking, is not as simple as police or the District Attorney makes it out to be. Our Orange County defense lawyers have more than a decade of experience reducing, dismissing, and winning cases for our clients accused of vehicular manslaughter in the courts of Orange County. These are complex cases, but with our decade of winning experience, we have what it takes to help you through this.
First, there is the question of whether or not you were really driving under the influence at the time, because as we know all too well, DUI tests are highly flawed. Then, there is the next question of what caused the accident itself; after all, there could've been several external factors beyond your control that caused the accident such as weather conditions, road hazards, and the recklessness of other drivers.
In order for a court to convict you on vehicular manslaughter charges they must prove three things:
- You were the driving under the influence;
- You negligently committed an unlawful act or a lawful but dangerous act; and
- Your negligence caused the death of another person.
Regardless of whether or not you were driving under the influence, perhaps you could not avoid the accident that resulted in a death. This is otherwise known as the imminent peril / sudden emergency defense. Bottom line, you are not guilty if the cause of death was clearly somebody else's fault. By using this defense, our Orange County attorneys can then prompt a requirement for the judge to instruct the jury that "a person facing a sudden and unexpected emergency situation not caused by that person's own negligence is required only to use the same care and judgment that an ordinarily careful person would use in the same situation, even if it appears later that a different course of action would have been safer."
If convicted of the more serious felony charge of PC 191.5(a), you face between 4 to 10 years in state prison, or 15 years-to-life in state prison if you have a prior PC 191.5 conviction or 2 or more prior DUI convictions. Furthermore, if there are surviving victims who suffered great bodily injury, you face an additional 3 to 6 year prison sentence. If convicted of felony PC 191.5(b), you face between 16 months and 4 years in state prison, and an additional 3 to 6 year sentence if surviving victims suffer great bodily injury and up to $10,000 in fines.
If convicted of PC 191.5(b), you face up to a year in Orange County jail and a maximum $1,000 fine.
If you are a repeat DUI offender and allegedly kill somebody while DUI, the District Attorney's office could charge you with second-degree murder—otherwise known as DUI or "Watson" murder. What distinguishes a Watson DUI murder from first-degree murder is that there is no allegation that the defendant intended to kill the victim; however, the filing allows for second-degree murder convictions where the person deliberately commits a dangerous act, DUI, with knowledge of the danger and a conscious disregard for human life.
With an experienced Orange County defense attorney from Law Office of Michael L. Guisti on your side, you can trust that we will be there to thoroughly investigate the police officer's actions, examine your DUI BAC, and bring in accident investigators. We can help to deal with your charge because we have over a decade of successful experienced in handling successful cases of vehicular manslaughter. Call (714) 530-9690 now!
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Whether you're facing a felony or a misdemeanor, don't risk a conviction. Act quickly to redeem your reputation and protect your record by consulting with our Orange County criminal defense lawyer. Call today to schedule your free consultation.