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.
A man riding a bicycle was struck and killed in a hit-and-run accident Thursday morning in Van Nuys, with the driver taken into custody on suspicion of driving under the influence.
Police responded about 3:45 a.m. to Haskell Avenue and Stagg Street and found the victim, said Officer Norma Eisenman, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department.
The cyclist was struck from behind and pushed up to 40 feet, NBC4 reported. The driver fled the scene and was found about a mile away at Woodley Avenue and Saticoy Street, where he was taken into custody, Eisenman said.
The driver was combative and fought with officers while being arrested and was transported to a hospital with unknown injuries, NBC4 reported.
So, you’re the drive, what happens now? Well, you are likely going to be held on high bail and, in all likelihood, will face charges of felony hit-and-run, resisting arrest and felony dui causing injury and/or vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. All of which are serious offenses.
As discussed in prior blogs about DUIs and hit-and-runs, the technical facts surround the incident are crucial. Did the officer(s) observe you drive? If not, are there any circumstantial facts that would demonstrate driving? What was your blood alcohol concentration? Were you taking any medication at the time of the incident? All of these facts are critical since prosecutors prosecuting DUIs rely on technical facts to prove their case.
It is also critical to contact the DMV within 10 days from the date of incident/arrest to prevent them from automatically suspending your driver’s license and request an administrative hearing.
Depending on the facts of your case, the extent of any injuries to victim(s) and other mitigation factors, punishment could range from no jail and probation to years in state prison and a year-long license (or more) license suspension.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for DUI, hit-and-run or DUI causing injury in Los Angeles, San Bernardino or Orange county, contact attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible. Attorney Ross Erlich can contact the DMV and request a hearing without having them automatically suspend your license and work to suggest steps you may take to improve the outcome in your case before you even go to court for the first time.
12 Aug 2015
A 19-year-old man was charged on Tuesday with murder and driving under the influence (DUI) of a drug in connection with a crash in North Hills where three others died.
The defendant was the only occupant in his vehicle when he struck the other vehicle, carrying four occupants, head-on. The crash occurred closed to 3:00 a.m. near Roscoe and Haskell.
DUI murder in California is also known as “Watson” murder and is charged as a second-degree murder offense. Unlike felony DUI causing death, which requires ordinary or “gross” negligence while operating a vehicle, Watson murder is more serious and usually involves allegations of conscious disregard for human life. In order to be convicted of a Watson murder in California, the prosecutor must prove that: 1) the death resulted from an intentional act, 2) the natural consequences of that act are dangerous to human life, and 3) you knowingly acted in conscious disregard for that fact.
The most common issue the prosecution has in pursuing a Watson murder conviction is proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, this third element of “knowingly acted in conscious disregard…” This is so difficult since your mental state at the time is a central issue and can be tough for a prosecutor to illustrate, and convince, a jury of this.
It should be noted that if you have had a prior DUI conviction, a prosecutor can prove implied malice via your initials on the box of those waiver forms where the Watson advisement is given.
A conviction of Watson murder in California carries a potential 15 years to life in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, and a strike pursuant to California’s Three Strikes Law. Additionally, if there are other, surviving, victims who have been seriously injured, you could face additional and consecutive prison terms.
If you or someone you know has been charged with DUI murder, a DUI causing death, a DUI causing great bodily injury or any other DUI or DUI-related offense, contact attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible. Having an aggressive criminal defense attorney on your side early in the process can end up being the best decision you make down the road. Approaching your case in a proactive manner prior to any criminal charges being filed can result in the reduction, or prevention, of more serious charges from being filed.
Contact our office today for a free consultation.