Facing Vehicular Homicide Charges in Connection with a DUI
If the unimaginable happens and you are involved in a fatal car accident after you’ve had something to drink or taken prescription or recreational drugs, in Ventura County it is very possible that you will face DUI-related charges for vehicular homicide. When facing these kinds of charges, it is crucial to have an experienced, local DUI attorney on your side. Since a DUI charge is involved, right or wrong, everyone else will be pointing their finger at you. You need a respected and highly-skilled lawyer who can protect your rights and tell your side of the story.
Before entering private practice, Ventura DUI attorney David Lehr spent thirteen years trying criminal cases as a Ventura County District Attorney. He knows the language and tactics that police officers and prosecutors rely on in these types of cases, and he knows what it takes to fight a vehicular homicide charge in Ventura County. If there is any possible defense to your charges, we will see your case through to the end.
Types of DUI-Related Vehicular Homicide Charges
There are three primary DUI-related vehicular homicide charges defendants can face in Ventura County:
- Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated – If you were driving while intoxicated, were negligent in committing an unlawful or dangerous act (in addition to DUI), and your negligence caused the death of another person.
- Gross Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated – If you were driving while intoxicated, were grossly negligent (reckless) in committing an unlawful or dangerous act, and your gross negligence caused the death of another person.
- Second-Degree DUI Murder (Watson Murder) – If you cause the death of another while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you have previously been convicted of a DUI, and you have attended alcohol school and/or were admonished of the dangers of driving while intoxicated by the court (called a “Watson advisement”, and standard for Ventura DUI convictions).
Click here to read about the penalties for DUI-related homicide.
Defending DUI-Related Vehicular Homicide Charges
With any vehicular homicide charge, it is a critical element of the prosecutor’s case that your conduct actually caused the death in question. The simple fact that you were involved in a fatal accident while driving under the influence is not enough to establish guilt for vehicular homicide. For example, if the accident was the result of bad weather conditions or if the deceased individual ran into you, you may be guilty of DUI, but you are not guilty of homicide.
In addition to questioning the cause of the accident, there are a number of possible defenses to DUI-related vehicular homicide charges. These include, but are not limited to:
- All possible defenses to the underlying DUI (click here for more information);
- Demonstrating that you were not negligent or grossly negligent in causing the accident;
- Demonstrating that your conduct was justified by a sudden emergency or imminent peril (e.g., you swerved in order to avoid a sudden collision in front of you); and
- Procedural defenses such as failure to preserve evidence.
Contact a Ventura Vehicular Homicide Lawyer
If you are facing DUI-related vehicular manslaughter or second-degree murder charges, please contact us immediately. We provide prompt, compassionate and vigorous legal representation to protect our clients’ rights, and you can trust us to give your case the attention it deserves.