An Oceanside woman will spend 15 years to life in prison for a DUI death there. The defendant struck and killed a homeless man while driving home after a night of drinking.
The victim, a 69-year-old-transient, became lodged in the woman’s windshield. The impact of the crash severed the man’s foot. Instead of stopping, she drove to her neighborhood and abandoned her vehicle. She walked home, contacted her boyfriend regarding the incident and changed her clothes. Meanwhile, the victim bled to death from his injuries
Investigators discovered that the woman had a blood-alcohol level of .22, nearly three times the legal limit. According to her, she had five alcoholic drinks and an undetermined amount of beer before getting into her car. A jury convicted her of second-degree murder and gross vehicular manslaughter, manslaughter while intoxicated and hit and run causing death. Her trial ended in April, but she recently returned to court for sentencing.
The incident made headlines around the world when it occurred in July 2016. In court, the woman’s defense counsel did not deny that she was drunk, or that she hit the victim. Instead, he said that the accident occurred when the woman fell asleep behind the wheel.
A video of the incident showed the woman striking the man while he was on the sidewalk. He argued that she had fallen asleep, and that caused the car to enter the walkway. Had the jury accepted his argument, they could not have found the woman guilty of homicide.
Los Angeles DUI Lawyer
When you face arrest for a DUI in LA, hire an experienced DUI lawyer like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has more than 30 years of experience in criminal courtroom defense. He has defended thousands of Southern Californians in that time.
About two-thirds of drunk driving cases result in misdemeanor charges. When an accident involves an injury or death, however, felony charges result. Felony charges are far more serious and can result in a lengthy prison sentence, depending upon the circumstances.
Don’t rely on an inexperienced attorney, and don’t assume that there’s nothing you can do to help yourself. Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for an immediate consultation on your Los Angeles County DUI case.
Photo Credit: Tony Webster, via Flickr.com