Gross Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated
Navigating the legal complexities surrounding vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated requires a skilled attorney with a deep understanding of California law. At The Law Offices of Hart J. Levin, we specialize in defending individuals facing charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, a serious offense outlined in California Penal Code 191.5(a).
Our expert DUI law firm boasts an award-winning defense team, dedicated to providing unparalleled legal support tailored to your unique case. Led by the accomplished attorney Hart J. Levin, our team has a proven track record of success, having skillfully navigated and resolved thousands of DUI cases. This includes the formidable challenge of cases resulting in fatalities, where our commitment to justice and expertise in DUI law has consistently led to favorable outcomes. When you choose our firm, you can trust that you are in capable hands, as we leverage our experience and legal acumen to craft a robust defense strategy aimed at securing the best possible result for your situation.
What is “Gross Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated”?
Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, as defined by California law, occurs when an individual, under the influence of alcohol or drugs and operating a vehicle, unlawfully causes the death of another person with gross negligence. The severity of the charge necessitates strategic legal representation to protect your rights.
California Penal Code 191.5(a)
California Penal Code 191.5(a) defines the offense of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. According to this statute, individuals can be charged if, while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they unlawfully cause the death of another person through gross negligence. This offense emphasizes a high level of recklessness and negligence, making it a serious legal matter.
The prosecution must prove specific elements to secure a conviction, and individuals facing charges under this code should seek experienced legal representation to navigate the complexities of their case. Our experienced attorneys at The Law Offices of Hart J. Levin are well-versed in California Penal Code 191.5(a). We understand the specific elements that the prosecution must prove to secure a conviction, and we use our expertise and Hart’s background as a former Deputy District Attorney to challenge every aspect of the case.
Examples of Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated
PC 191.5(a) could be invoked for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated under the following circumstances:
High-Speed Collision Resulting in Fatalities:
Imagine an individual, heavily intoxicated, driving at an excessively high speed, and colliding with another vehicle, resulting in fatalities. The sheer recklessness and gross negligence displayed in such a scenario could lead to charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
Multiple DUI Offenses Leading to Fatal Accident:
In a situation where a person has a history of DUI offenses and continues to drive under the influence, causing a fatal accident, they may face charges under PC 191.5(a). The repeated disregard for public safety and the fatal consequences of their actions could elevate the charges to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
Driving Under the Influence with a Minor Passenger:
If an individual is found to be driving under the influence with a minor as a passenger and, due to their impaired state, causes a fatal accident, it could result in charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. The added element of endangering a child’s life amplifies the seriousness of the offense.
Pedestrian Fatality in Crosswalk:
Imagine an individual, visibly intoxicated, behind the wheel of a vehicle. While navigating a marked crosswalk, they fail to yield the right of way to pedestrians. Due to their impaired state, they strike and fatally injure a pedestrian who was lawfully crossing the street. In this tragic scenario, the combination of intoxication, failure to adhere to traffic laws, and the resulting loss of life could lead to charges under California Penal Code 191.5(a) for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
Penalties of Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated
Gross Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated is classified as a felony-level offense in California, carrying significant penalties that underscore the severity of the crime. Individuals convicted of this offense may face the following consequences:
– Prison Sentence: A conviction can result in a prison term of up to ten years, emphasizing the gravity of the offense and the need for a robust defense.
– Financial Obligations: In addition to imprisonment, the court may impose substantial fines as part of the penalties, adding a financial burden to the legal consequences.
– Restitution to the Victim’s Family: Courts may order restitution to the victim’s family to address the financial impact of the loss, further emphasizing the accountability of the offender.
Enhanced Penalties for Repeat Offenders
For defendants with two or more prior DUI convictions, the penalties become even more severe:
– Extended Prison Sentence: The prison term can escalate to 15 years to life, reflecting the increased severity of punishment for individuals with a history of driving under the influence.
Additional Penalties for Great Bodily Injury to Surviving Victims
If there are surviving victims who suffered great bodily injury as a result of the incident:
– Supplementary Prison Term: An additional three to six years in prison can be added to the sentence, acknowledging the extended harm caused beyond the loss of life.
Crafting a solid defense is our priority. A skilled DUI attorney such as the Law Offices of Hart J. Levin can employ various legal defenses to challenge the prosecution’s case and seek a favorable outcome. Here are key aspects a defense attorney may consider:
– Sobriety Test Accuracy: Attorneys may scrutinize the accuracy and administration of sobriety tests, challenging their reliability as evidence of intoxication.
– Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Results: Examining the procedures involved in obtaining blood or breath test results, including potential issues with testing equipment, calibration, or mishandling of samples.
– Establishing Lack of Gross Negligence: Contesting the prosecution’s assertion of gross negligence by presenting evidence that the accused did not act recklessly or with conscious disregard for safety.
– External Influences: Identifying external factors such as road conditions, weather, or the actions of other drivers that may have contributed to the incident, potentially mitigating the accused’s level of responsibility.
– Eyewitness Accounts: Scrutinizing eyewitness testimony for inconsistencies or potential bias that may impact the credibility of the witnesses.
– Plea Bargaining: Exploring opportunities for plea bargaining to secure reduced charges or alternative sentencing options that may mitigate the severity of penalties.
– Demonstrating Remorse and Rehabilitation: Presenting evidence of the accused’s remorse, willingness to seek rehabilitation, and commitment to preventing future incidents can influence sentencing.
– Expert Testimony: Engaging expert witnesses, such as accident reconstruction specialists or toxicologists, to provide professional opinions that challenge aspects of the prosecution’s case.
– Fourth Amendment Violations: Investigating potential violations of the Fourth Amendment, such as illegal searches or seizures, which could lead to the suppression of evidence.
– Challenging “Strike” Designation: Exploring legal avenues to challenge the designation of Gross Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated as a “strike” offense under California’s Three Strikes laws, aiming to reduce the long-term impact on future convictions.
Contacting a DUI Attorney in Los Angeles
If you or a loved one is facing charges in Los Angeles for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, time is of the essence. Contact the Law Offices of Hart J. Levin today for a confidential consultation. Our seasoned DUI attorneys in Los Angeles are committed to protecting your rights, leveraging our expertise to navigate the legal landscape and secure the best possible outcome for your case.