In a recent case, Bryan Calles, the defendant was punished separately for the crimes of vehicular manslaughter and second degree murder for different victims arising from a single incident. Apparently after inhaling nitrous oxide, the defendant was driving his motor vehicle and struck and killed multiple people. He was driving his vehicle and went across the roadway and went on to the sidewalk where he struck four people.
He left the scene and went to work. The next morning, an officer arrested the defendant and saw that he had injuries consistent with the incident. One victim had a pierced right lung and both legs were broken. Two other victims had died due to multiple injuries that they had sustained because of the incident.
Following the trial, the jury convicted the defendant of gross vehicular manslaughter with an enhancement of causing greatly bodily injury a as well as fleeing the scene of an accident. He was also convicted of second degree murder of one of the victims. The judge sentenced the defendant to 23 years to life in prison, consisting of a term of 15 to life; plus 5 years for fleeing the scene; and 3 years for causing great bodily injury.
Section 654(a), provides that an act or omission that is punishable in different ways by different provisions of law shall be punished under the provision that provides for the longest potential term of imprisonment, but in no case shall the act or omission be punished under more than one provision. The California Supreme Court has long held that the limitations of section 654 do not apply to crimes of violence against multiple victims.
The Defendant was found to have caused great bodily injury on two of the victims while in the commission of a charge of gross vehicular manslaughter of a separate victim. The court then imposed, but stayed, two- three year prison term enhancements, one for each victim. One of those enhancements was for a victim that had died because of his injuries.
Under section 12022.7(a), additional to the punishment for the underlying charge of vehicular manslaughter, he defendant shall be punished for inflicting great bodily injury in the commission of hat felony.
The result was that the defendant could be punished for causing great bodily injury to victim one on one charge with victim two, even if the victim one died, which by definition caused victim one great bodily injury.
If you find yourself, or a loved one charged with a crime, come see our experienced attorneys at Wallin & Klarich today. At Wallin & Klarich, our knowledgeable Southern California criminal defense lawyers will protect your rights. We have been defending the rights of those facing criminal charges like these for over 30 years. Call us today at 888-280-6839 or visit www.wklaw.com for more information.