Articles Tagged with dui manslaughter

It’s the scenario we all hope never happens—and one that in truth should never happen. Someone has a lapse in judgment, gets behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or another substance, gets into an accident—and another person dies as a result. Aside from the overwhelming sense of loss and guilt of knowing his actions have caused this death, now that person may be facing more serious criminal charges on top of the DUI.DUI-murder-300x200

In a perfect world, you should never find yourself in this situation, but if you are charged in California with a DUI incident involving a fatality, what can you expect? What, exactly, are you facing?

Three Possible Charges

Police officers are all too familiar with injuries and deaths caused by a driver who is both speeding and DUI in Los Angeles. A few hours south of LA, a race between two young and allegedly intoxicated drivers in the San Diego area has left a passenger in one car dead.Los-Angeles-DUI-and speeding

Residents along East H Street in Chula Vista have often complained to authorities about the vehicles that race along that road. In the early morning hours of Saturday, October 8th, Jose Molina Ramirez, 22, and Nicholas Nesbitt, 22, pitted their vehicles against each other with fatal consequences. While traveling at 100 mph, Ramirez lost control of his car, went careening across the median (cutting two magnolia trees in half) and then moving across the traffic lanes opposite from the ones he had been traveling on. (Fortunately he did not hit any vehicles traveling in this direction.)

While Ramirez and his front seat passenger managed to escape unharmed, the back seat passenger, 22-year-old Sergio Isai Ramirez, was not wearing a seatbelt. He was killed on impact.

Neighbors reported hearing screeching tires and a loud crash at the time of the accident.

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Court rulings and new laws in other states don’t have an immediate impact on California DUI laws and the outcome of arrests for DUI in Los Angeles.  But it’s always interesting to take a look and see how other states are dealing with challenges and updates to DUI law.TennLegislature-DUI-law-debate

•    The Tennessee State Legislature has taken the extraordinary step of going into special session to amend a law that they passed that raised the BAC limit for 18 to 20-year olds to 0.08 percent.  The legislature had reasoned that since the new penalties for drivers in that age group were the same as for drivers over 21, the BAC limits should be the same. But that put them in conflict with federal law, which mandates a 0.02 limit for those under 21. Since the federal government threatened to withhold federal highway construction funds from the state, the state legislature had to hold a special session (at a cost of at least $75,000) to amend its law and bring it into conformity with federal law. (The federal government refused to waive an October 1st deadline to allow the state to amend the law at its next scheduled legislative session in January 2017.)

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Kenneth Jenkins-DUIJudges presiding in cases of DUI in Los Angeles may be more inclined to show clemency when defendants express true remorse for their actions and make a sincere effort to turn their lives around. But they’re less likely to be merciful when a defendant demonstrates that he continues to demonstrate the same behaviors that got him trouble in the first place.

Kenneth Jenkins recently learned that lesson in a Florida courtroom. The Palm Beach Post reported that Jenkins, convicted of causing the deaths of three people in a March 2008 DUI-related accident, asked for a reduction in his 33-year sentence. Circuit Judge Charles Burton denied that request.

Three years after his arrest, Jenkins, now age 33, pleaded guilty to DUI and to driving the wrong way on Interstate 95 near Delray Beach. His black Pontiac GTO caused a series of accidents before it eventually slammed into a 2008 Mercedes, killing three of the vehicle’s four occupants. The case dragged on while Jenkins’ original attorneys tried to determine whether the Mercedes’ driver had also been partly at fault for the accident.

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Most people who spent time in prison after a conviction for a Los Angeles DUI would try to do everything they could to avoid going back behind bars. But one woman in Maryland wasn’t willing (or able) to take advantage of her opportunity to remain free.Kelli Loos DUI

The Washington Post reported that a judge is sending 40-year-old Kelli Loos back to jail–at least temporarily–after she violated her probation in a 2009 DUI conviction by trying to drive while she was under the influence of alcohol.

Loos allegedly had a BAC of 0.20–more than twice the legal limit–when she slammed into a vehicle carrying Gradys Mendoza and Franklin Manzanares in July 2009. The impact sent their vehicle flying over a guardrail and down into a 60-foot ravine, killing both men. Loos, apparently oblivious, continued driving until she had another accident in Virginia that brought her to a halt.

After Loos pleaded guilty to two counts of vehicular manslaughter and one count of leaving the scene of an accident, a judge sentenced her to 20 years in jail. Loos got out on probation after serving four years of her sentence. But before Loos could drive again, she had to get an ignition interlock device installed on her vehicle. Prosecutors brought her back into court on parole violation charges after the IID registered at least three occasions on which Loos tried to drive while under the influence.

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The Los Angeles DUI community and others initially thought the recent horrendous Bruce Jenner crash might have involved alcohol. The investigation into the fatal accident continues to unfold, providing more details into the sequence of events.bruce-jenner-dui

The accident unfolded when Bruce Jenner, 69 year-old Olympic medalist and part of the Kardashian family, allegedly rear-ended two vehicles in his Cadillac Escalade. New evidence based on video captured from a bus camera recently emerged indicates that Jenner first rear ended a Lexus sedan driven by Kim Howe (69). The impact pushed the sedan into oncoming traffic, where it collided head first with a Hummer. Howe died at the scene. Jenner submitted to both field tests and DUI blood tests. The results yielded no proof of intoxication.

During the sequence of events, Jenner also rear ended the car immediately in front of the Lexus, a Toyota Prius driven by Jessica Steindorff (29). Both Howe and Steindorff had been driving with suspended licenses. According to the Los Angeles Times, investigators found proof that Jenner tried to avoid the accident with hard braking and veering to the right shoulder of the road.

Talking or texting on a handheld cellphone is illegal while driving in California. Evidence suggests that distracted driving may have played a role in the deadly sequence of events. Pagesix.com highlights photographs taken of Jenner talking on the phone while driving only days after the accident. Investigators look to phone records for proof of distracted driving when evaluating the circumstances surrounding an accident.

Chain reaction crashes like this one require intensive investigations. Evidence emerging in the continued investigation will likely clarify the cause of the accident and Jenner’s role. Publicly, Jenner holds that he did nothing wrong. Emerging evidence of negligence could lead to charges of vehicular manslaughter.

Do you or a family member need insight from a qualified Los Angeles DUI attorney? Contact Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group to set up your free consultation.

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dui-manslaughterLos Angeles DUI manslaughter charges are incredibly serious but also surprisingly diverse.

Let’s say you’ve never driven DUI before, and you didn’t engage in an act of gross negligence, like driving 100 miles the wrong way on the freeway. But you did get into a DUI accident that caused someone to die. You could still go to jail for a long time, lose your license, and face an array of other punishments.

However, prosecutors could try to convince the court that you engaged in a more serious crime — “gross vehicular manslaughter” — which can lead to even steeper punishments.

And if you had been convicted of a prior DUI — and you had signed a document known as a Watson Advisement, which indicates that you understand the lethality of driving DUI –prosecutors can even go after you for an even more intense count, known as DUI Murder.

Bearing that in mind, let’s reflect on a tragic case in Anaheim. On October 18, a 10-year-old boy died in a multi-car DUI-related collision at North Euclid Street and West Oklahoma Avenue, per Anaheim Police Department reports. A black pickup truck smashed into the boy’s Toyota Camry from behind, throwing the vehicle into another car. Everyone in the Camry suffered critical injuries, and the 10-year-old boy died at a local hospital. Los Angeles police later arrested Gary S. Hunt, the driver of the black pickup truck.

The accident moderately injured the driver of the third car.

Whether Hunt actually had been under the influence of alcohol or not, he could face serious criminal and civil charges. The media coverage understandingly focuses on the awful tragedy that befell Ramirez and his family, but it’s important to appreciate that DUI crashes also devastate the lives of people charged with crimes.

For instance, perhaps Hunt also has children, who now may be forced to deal with the fact that their dad could go to prison for many years.

To respond conscientiously, compassionately and effectively to complex criminal charges, contact a Los Angeles DUI injury defense attorney at the Kraut Law Group right now to schedule a consultation with former prosecutor, Michael Kraut.

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