Punishments for those convicted of Driving under the Influence have increased significantly over the past several years and rightfully so. With so many lives lost at the hands of DUI drivers, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office has made it perfectly clear that if you have a prior DUI conviction and kill somebody when you are impaired by alcohol or drugs, they will have no qualms about charging you with second degree murder in Orange County for each life that is lost as a result of your conduct. A conviction of 2nd degree murder requires a mandatory 15-life sentence in California.
In the vast majority of cases, the person who kills someone while they’re DUI does not intend to kill anybody, but they cause an “accident” where another person dies. It is commonly argued that since there was no intent to kill, the person should not be charged with homicide but rather a lesser charge of gross vehicular manslaughter – which caries a significantly lesser sentence than 2nd degree murder. However, the response to that argument is that a person with a prior DUI conviction knew that Driving under the Influence was a dangerous activity and they consciously disregarded that and chose to drive, meaning they intentionally engaged in a dangerous activity and killed someone. Legally, this is acting with a “depraved heart” and satisfies the intent requirement for 2nd degree murder.
When somebody is killed in a DUI accident nobody wins. The victim’s family suffers the loss of a loved one and nothing will bring that person back. The person responsible faces life in prison which could tear them from their families and loved ones for the rest of their lives. Anytime you or a loved one is facing such serious charges in Orange County, it is imperative that you do everything possible to retain a highly qualified Orange County criminal defense firm like Wallin & Klarich to aggressively represent you and protect your rights. Call us at 888-280-6839 to receive our immediate assistance.