Orange County Manslaughter DUI Conviction
If you are arrested and charged with DUI in Orange County, you need to take it seriously. There are significant penalties that you may face, especially if someone was killed in a car crash due to driving under the influence. In California, this type of criminal charge is called “vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.” Without proper representation, you could be facing significant jail time, long probation times, and significant fines. What you are ultimately sentenced to will depend upon the seriousness of the facts and any aggravating factors, such as prior DUI convictions and the level of your intoxication. If someone is killed as a result, you could be charged with murder.
According to the 2020 Annual Report of the California DUI Management Information System (covering data from 2008 to 2018), over the last several years there has been, on average, approximately 125,000 DUI arrests every year throughout the state of California. Of those 125,000, there have been approximately 5,000 felony DUI arrests every year for the past several years. Alcohol-involved crash fatalities for the year 2018 were 1,221, and for the year 2017 was 1,294. As you can see, this is an ongoing problem on the roads/highways of California and Orange County.
If you attempt to handle a case like this on your own, prosecutors will not cut you any slack and will likely throw the book at you. The prosecutor’s office will have a team of lawyers, investigators, and police trying to get you the harshest sentence possible. You deserve to have an Orange County manslaughter DUI defense team on your side making sure your rights are protected. The Orange County DUI lawyers at Wallin & Klarich have been successfully representing people charged with manslaughter DUI for over 40 years. To take advantage of our knowledge, skills, and resources, we are just a quick phone call away.
Two Ways to be Charged With Vehicular Manslaughter
Depending upon the circumstances of the case, the prosecutor can charge you with “gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated” or just simply “vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.” Each one is covered under a different section of California law, PC 191.5:
- PC 191.5(a): Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought, in the driving of a vehicle, where the driving was in violation of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153 of the Vehicle Code, and the killing was either the proximate result of the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony, and with gross negligence, or the proximate result of the commission of a lawful act that might produce death, in an unlawful manner, and with gross negligence.
- PC 191.5(b): Vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought, in the driving of a vehicle, where the driving was in violation of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153 of the Vehicle Code, and the killing was either the proximate result of the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony, but without gross negligence, or the proximate result of the commission of a lawful act that might produce death, in an unlawful manner, but without gross negligence.
Gross vehicular manslaughter under PC 191.5(a) is charged when the intoxicated driver’s actions go beyond mere negligence, and they drive in an outrageous manner with reckless indifference to human life. Gross vehicle manslaughter is always charged as a felony. Vehicular manslaughter under PC 191.5(b), on the other hand, is commonly referred to as a “wobbler offense” and can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, at the prosecutor’s discretion. This is why it’s extremely important to have experienced counsel representing you. A skilled Orange County DUI attorney might be able to convince the prosecutor to lower the charges because of mitigating factors in the case.
Potential Jail Time
For gross vehicular manslaughter under PC 191.5(a), the potential state prison time for a DUI manslaughter case with gross negligence is four (4), six (6), or ten (10) years. Your driver’s license will also be revoked, and you will most likely face probation and fines.
If charged under PC 191.5(b), where there is normal negligence, because it’s a wobbler offense, you can be charged with a felony or a misdemeanor. The potential felony sentence for a DUI manslaughter conviction is sixteen (16) months, two (2) years, or four (4) years. If you are charged as a misdemeanor under PC 191.5(b), the maximum jail sentence is only one (1) year with no mandatory minimum. It’s pretty obvious that you want a strong legal team because the jail time under a misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter is significantly less than the felony charge. If you are charged with second-degree murder because your DUI killed somebody, you could also face 15 years to life in state prison.
Contact Wallin & Klarich Today
Wallin & Klarich knows what it takes to get the best results for Orange County misdemeanor DUI clients. We will review every bit of evidence in your case and provide every legal defense possible. You can contact us online or call us at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (714) 386-7710 for a free phone consultation. With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles, and San Diego, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich DUI defense attorney near you, no matter where you work or live.