Articles Tagged with dui murder

Los-Angeles-DUI-attorney-21-300x200It’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.

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

Motorists involved in a Los Angeles DUI accident sometimes cause property damage and (fortunately, more rarely) death or injury to themselves or someone else. But very few of them are involved in three incidents–one deadly–in the same day.Zoltan-Istvan-Pentek-DUI

A Las Vegas driver who reportedly caused three accidents on Thursday, June 11th–one when he was apparently sober, two when he was allegedly DUI–was sitting in jail without bail a day later. But his incarceration came too late for a 67-year old cyclist, who lost his life when their paths crossed.

The Nevada Highway Patrol’s first contact with Zoltan Istvan Pentek, 22, came around 10 p.m. on Thursday night, when police say he was involved in a crash on Interstate 15. The responding officers later said that Pentek filled out an incident report and showed no signs of impairment, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

About an hour and a half later, at 11:40 p.m., Pentek hit 67-year-old Larry Martinez, who was riding his bike near the intersection of Charleston Boulevard and Mojave Road. Martinez had been wearing a reflective vest when Pentek slammed into him from behind, causing fatal injuries.

Pentek didn’t stop, but fled the scene, per the Review-Journal, leaving behind a piece of trim from his dark green, 1999 Honda Civic. Just 10 minutes later, he allegedly caused another crash at an intersection not far from the fatality scene. The police picked him up shortly after this accident. After matching the trim left at the earlier incident to his car, they eventually charged him with DUI involving death and leaving the scene of an accident involving death.

What should you do if you or someone you love faces a serious DUI count? Will you go to jail? Will you lose your license? Call Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer Michael Kraut immediately to understand your options and craft a strategic response.

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How many times can police charge a driver with a Los Angeles DUI before that driver gets the message that he (or she) is doing something wrong?4_DUI-los-angeles

Many people change their ways after cops arrest them just once for that offense. But one driver from Rhode Island doesn’t seem to have understood that he was doing something wrong.

John Lourenco may have set a record for being arrested for DUI four times in 30 hours, especially since he managed to do it while driving four different vehicles. According to the Smoking Gun website, the 53-year-old’s DUI odyssey began in Providence on a Sunday afternoon in late September, when his Dodge pickup truck hit an SUV carrying two children. Fortunately, the accident didn’t cause any serious injuries to the kids. Lourenco was released to the custody of his elderly parents.

Lourenco’s next three arrests came in Cumberland. Around 7:15 on Monday morning, morning, with a blood alcohol level of .22, he rear-ended another vehicle while behind the wheel of a Chevy Malibu. Four hours later an officer pulled Lourenco over as he was driving a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda. The final time the police picked Lourenco up he was using a dump truck as his vehicle of choice—and he was still drunk. In just 30 hours, Lourenco had managed to hit three cars and a tree. Each time the police called his parents to come pick him up.

The DUI repeat offender got his day in court in late April 2015. The judge sentenced him to two years in the state prison, which will give him plenty of time to consider the error of his ways.

Locating a seasoned and qualified Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer is a critical part of the process of reclaiming your life, your time and your peace of mind. Call ex-prosecutor Michael Kraut for a free consultation right now.

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adam-hill-dui-murderDriving under the influence of drugs in Los Angeles is a dangerous crime, as even a child could tell you. But what distinguishes a “run of the mill” drug DUI from an arrest that leads to a second degree murder conviction and a 17 year-to-life jail sentence?

The answer is: the circumstances.

Consider, for instance, the nightmarish series of events that unfolded on the morning of February 13, 2011. Adam Harrison Hall spun out of control in his Ford SUV, smashed into a Toyota SUV at a red light, injuring the occupants, then veered onto the sidewalk and hit and killed 40-year-old Mara Steves, who had been walking a lost labrador retriever.

Hall allegedly killed a pedestrian and caused a massive wreck that led to other injuries… AND he had two prior DUI convictions.

In Southern California, after you get convicted of a DUI, you receive what’s known as a Watson Advisement. This is basically a “last warning” that affirms that you understand that driving DUI can lead to severe injury and death. People who receive the Watson Advisement and then later go on to commit another DUI crime and kill someone can be charged with DUI murder, also known as a “Watson Murder” because of the eponymous advisement.

In any event, Hall apparently had nearly a pharmacy’s worth of drugs in his system, including morphine, amphetamine, temazepam, oxazepam, hydroxyalprazolam, alprazolam, nordiazepam, diazepam, and methamphetamine as well as THCA. In February this year, a jury found Hall guilty of a smorgasbord of charges, including misdemeanor drug DUI, two felony counts of obtaining drugs via a forged prescription, one felony prescription forgery charge, and of course one felony murder count. Hall had appealed the verdict, because he argued his trial attorney had been inadequate and that the prosecution did not have enough evidence to prove that he had been the driver burning through the red light. But the three justices disagreed and upheld the murder conviction.

If you or some you love faces a severe charge, like DUI manslaughter or murder, call a qualified, compassionate Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer with the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers to get effective insight into your possible options.

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If you’ve been arrested on a Los Angeles DUI charge, odds are that you’re probably facing a relatively minor (but still serious) charge, such as misdemeanor DUI. If your case is extreme – for instance if you hurt someone – you might face a felony. This is a very serious charge that can lead to over a year behind bars.Ever-Olivos-Gutierrez-dui

However, unless your situation is very intense, you probably won’t face a first degree murder charge.

Not so for Ever Olivos-Gutierrez, a native Mexico living in Colorado, who hit and killed a man last Monday morning. Authorities say Olivos-Gutierrez ran a stop light and smashed his Ford Expedition into a Chevy Camaro driven by Juan Carlos Dominguez-Palomino, killing the 17-year-old on the scene. Olivos-Gutierrez then fled the crash, but police tracked him down. Per the arrest affidavit, he tested over four times the legal limit for DUI.

Prior to the fatal crash, Olivos-Gutierrez had been arrested multiple times on DUI-related charges and other traffic incidents. Approximately half of his arrests and offenses happened when he was living in the United States illegally – he never had a Colorado driver’s license.

Authorities say that his fatal wreck last week mirrored a similar crash in September 2008, when an illegal immigrant named Francis Hernandez hit a pickup truck while DUI — driving 80 miles per hour — on a street in Aurora. The force of the accident thrust the truck into a nearby ice-cream shop, where it killed a 3-year-old boy and two women who had been eating inside.

Despite the fact that Olivos-Gutierrez had been arrested twice for DUI – once in 2000 and once in 2007 — and that he committed multiple driving offenses and infractions, while driving without a license and living in the country illegally — he served less than a year of jail time. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) only had documentation of one of his arrests. (When the Denver Post reported on this story, officials from ICE did not comment.)

Recently, in California, our Supreme Court decided to give the green light to prosecutors to pursue DUI murder charges – also known as Watson Murders. This charge is a second degree murder charge, and it can be punished by up to life in prison. Part of what makes this charge particularly strong is that it contains an element of what’s known as “implied malice” – i.e., the driver clearly understood the dangerous risks of his actions but engaged in bad behavior anyway and then killed somebody. After you have been convicted of a DUI, you need to sign a statement known as a Watson Advisement that acknowledges that you understand how dangerous DUI driving can be.

For help unpacking your Los Angeles DUI defense, connect with attorney Michael Kraut. Mr. Kraut is a former prosecutor (Deputy District Attorney). He has appeared on Good Morning America and written in the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times about DUI cases in the news.
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