An elementary school principal has been charged with DUI murder in connection with a head-on crash in Palmdale that killed a woman.  The suspect principal was ordered jailed in lieu of $2 million bail while awaiting arraignment next month.

The case is taking place at the Lancaster/Antelope Valley courthouse in LA County and the report alleges that the suspect was behind the wheel of her jeep when it veered into oncoming traffic and collided head-on with the victim’s car.

If convicted of this charge, the suspect faces a strike conviction and 15 years to life in state prison.

DUI causing death murder charges, or “Watson,” murder, is a way for prosecutors in California to prosecute someone who was DUI and caused a death with second-degree murder.  This occurs if the state can prove that the defendant was committed the offense with “implied malice.”  Implied malice, in plain English, means that the suspect does not need to intend to cause death, but acted with conscious disregard for human life.  Thus, if you deliberately get into your car while intoxicated, drive and end up causing a death, the driving while impaired can be interpreted as conscious disregard for human life.

Typically, “Watson” murders are charged only after someone has had a prior DUI conviction or has attended one of the statewide drinking and driving programs.

If you have been charged with a DUI causing a death or causing great bodily injury, it is important to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.  Attorney Ross Erlich handles DUIs in Los Angeles county, Ventura county, San Bernardino county, Orange county and in Riverside county.  Additionally, if the facts surrounding the incident look bad, there are some pre-court actions attorney Ross Erlich can share to help improve your case status at the first court appearance.

Remember, if you are convicted of a DUI in California, you are looking at possible jail time, fines, loss of driver’s license, community service, problems with employment and other obligations.

Contact Ross Erlich today for a free case consultation and to stop the DMV from suspending your license.

An off-duty LAPD officer was arrested last week on suspicion of DUI after he allegedly crashed his car into a McDonald’s drive-through in Diamond Bar.  Apparently the officer was exiting the freeway at 1:15 a.m. when his car veered off the exit ramp, crossed over to an on-ramp and then was launched 50 feet, eventually coming to rest in the drive-through.

Firefighters had to pull the officer from his car and transport him to the hospital.  A CHP officer responded to the hospital, where the officer must have shown the objective symptoms of being under the influence, and was arrested for DUI.

Assuming this off-duty officer has not had any prior DUI convictions within the last 10 years, he is facing a possible license suspension through the DMV and possibly through the court, a longer first-offender driving under the influence class (due to the accident), possible jail or Cal Trans work, court fines and fees and possible suspension or loss of his employment.  There are additional issues to keep in mind with regards to the impact of a DUI.  Contact the office to have a consultation about your specific case.

When there is a car accident such as this while driving under the influence, prosecutors seek to impose additional penalties to, what would otherwise be, a normal first-offense DUI offer.  Accidents, injuries, open containers, and driving on a suspended license are all common issues that can elevate the normal DUI case.

If you have been involved in a DUI with an accident or injuries, it is important that you contact attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible.  Contacting law enforcement, the prosecutor’s office and even trying to compensate victims can put you in a better place dealing with your case than if you just sat and waited.  Also keep in mind the need to contact the DMV within 10 days from the date of arrest to request a hearing and prevent an automatic suspension of your license.

If you have been arrested for a DUI anywhere in Los Angeles County, Ventura County, Orange County or San Bernardino County, contact attorney Ross Erlich today.

A former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy was sentenced to three years probation for driving with more than twice the legal blood alcohol limit, hitting another vehicle, injuring the occupant of that vehicle and then fleeing the scene.

The former deputy will have to wear an alcohol-monitoring device for two years and will have to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on any vehicle that is registered to him.

Michael Grundy, the ex-deputy mentioned above, was driving under the influence of alcohol and another unspecified drug when he hit another car in a South Los Angeles intersection.  He was ultimately found by two other deputies, returned to the scene of the crime and arrested by the CHP.

Grundy had already completed a 180-day rehabilitation program at the time of sentencing and was ordered to pay over $25,000 in restitution to the victim in the case. Grundy had previously been arrested for drunk driving in Riverside County in 2005.

Grundy was originally charged with felony DUI causing injury, which is a very serious crime in Los Angeles.  Considering there was likely an additional charge of hit-and-run, prosecutors likely sought jail time and a substantial amount of restitution.  Many people believe that if you are driving under the influence and get into an accident, the best course of action is to attempt to flee and avoid arrest.  The problem with that choice is if you get charged with a separate count of hit-and-run, you are looking at additional punishment, fines and restrictions on your driver’s license.

If you have been charged with a DUI or hit and run in Los Angeles, it is important to contact attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible.  The DMV must be contacted within 10 days of the date of arrest to prevent an automatic suspension of your driver’s license so contact us before it is too late!

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