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.

Crystal Hunt, a soap opera actress known for her roles on “One Life to Live” and “Guiding Light”, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly throwing a drinking glass at a woman’s face during a bar fight.

The 28 year old actress allegedly threw a pint glass at the woman’s face, causing cuts and minor injuries, inside of a West Hollywood bar on December 13 of last year.  Hunt pleaded not guilty and is due back later this month in the Airport Courthouse.

If you have been charged with assault with a deadly weapon (ADW), it is important that you take this charge seriously.  An ADW charge can carry potential state prison time, large fines and a violent offense strike on your record pursuant to California’s “three strikes” law.

You might be asking yourself “what now?” if you have just bailed out of jail or are currently awaiting your first court appearance.  Well, as in the case above, many “ADWs” are charged when there is a fight and some kind of object is used to hurt or injure the victim and that object could potentially cause great bodily injury.  In the case above, a pint glass, as you could imagine, has the potential to cause severe injury to someone if it is thrown at their head.  Many “bar fights” that result in an arrest get charged as assaults with a deadly weapon, but are often able to be reduced through a plea deal if you have an aggressive defense attorney.

An assault with a deadly weapon is considered a “wobbler.”  This means the prosecutor can charge the offense as either a felony or a misdemeanor.  Attorney Ross Erlich regularly contacts the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office and speaks to prosecutors prior to the official filing.  This can allow for the presentation of facts that are favorable for clients and can help in getting the charge filed as a misdemeanor.

There are many other ways to resolve an assault with a deadly weapon so contact Attorney Ross Erlich today or 24/7 for a free case evaluation.

LAPD has arrested a 30-year-old man in connection with a string of residential burglaries after they connected him to a phone number that was used to call the homes before the break-ins.

LAPD investigators are alleging that this suspect broke into 18 homes in the San Fernando Valley, calling them first to make sure that no one was home.  In fact, investigators say that they initially started investigating this suspect and found that his phone number was the same one used in calling a previously burglarized home several times prior to the break-in.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office has charged this suspect with 18 counts of residential burglary and he is being held on $500,000 bail.

If you have been charged with residential burglary in Los Angeles, it is crucial that you consult an attorney prior to going to court.  Residential burglary is also known as first degree burglary in California and can bring up to 6 years in state prison and a strike under California’s Three Strikes Law.  Residential burglary is also the most serious type of burglary in that prosecutors and the law favors punishment for someone breaking into someone’s home or residence and committing a felony therein.

However, there are many defenses to residential burglary that may be relevant to your case and need to be communicated effectively to a prosecutor.  Examples may include mistaken identity, lack of intent to commit a felony prior to entering or even that the items you took actually belonged to you.

If you have been charged with burglary in Los Angeles County, contact attorney Ross Erlich for a free in-person case consultation.  Our office is available by phone 24/7 and can assist in securing bail bonds.

Attorney Ross Erlich handles all felony and misdemeanor matters in Los Angeles, Hollywood, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Downtown LA, Long Beach, East Los Angeles, Culver City and the San Fernando Valley.


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