The Reality Of DUI Murder In Los Angeles
DUI MURDER IN CALIFORNIA: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
In California, DUI murder, also known as Watson murder, is a criminal offense charge given to individuals who commit a DUI, and the accident resulting from their drunk driving causes one or more deaths. A conviction of a DUI murder has far-reaching punishments due to the severity of the offense. You don’t want to find yourself or, worse still, a loved one entangled in such a situation.
WHAT IS DUI MURDER IN CALIFORNIA?
DUI murder is not a separate offense in the California Penal Code. Rather, it applies when an individual has a previous DUI conviction, and despite knowing the dangers of drunk driving, still decides to operate a vehicle under the influence, resulting in death or deaths. The perpetrator will be charged with murder in the second degree under the Californian Penal Code 187, and if found guilty, can be sentenced to serve no less than 15 years in jail or life imprisonment.
Proving the conviction of DUI murder in California can be a challenge, as the prosecutor has to provide evidence that the perpetrator acted with implied malice – with the intent of causing harm and being aware of the consequences of their actions. The prosecution has to show that the perpetrator was conscious of the dangerousness of their actions but still decided to act in disregard of human life. This means that the prosecution has to prove the perpetrator’s state of mind, which can be challenging.
THE WATSON ADMONITION
The Watson admonition is an essential part of the DUI murder law in California. The Watson case refers to a Supreme Court Case that took place in 1981 in California, which set the standards for anyone driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. As part of their sentencing for a DUI offense, motorists in California have to sign a document or verbally acknowledge that they understand that driving under the influence is dangerous and can result in death. Should they cause death due to DUI in the future, they can be charged with a DUI murder.
Implied malice refers to the perpetrator’s intent to cause harm to others, knowing that their actions could result in death or severe injuries. The prosecutor can prove this through two ways: first, by showing that the perpetrator had signed a Watson admonition or acknowledged it verbally, and secondly, that the individual attended a court-approved DUI school.
Conviction of a DUI second-degree Watson murder in California has severe punishments. The convicted individual could be sentenced to life imprisonment or 15 years in jail, and also fined up to $10,000. The individual will also have a strike on their record, which the Californian Three Strikes Law will govern. Furthermore, if more than one death occurred, the penalties could be intensified, and any injured survivors will also be factored in during sentencing.
If the prosecution is unable to present sufficient evidence to prove that the perpetrator acted with implied malice, they might have to reduce the charges. This could lead to vehicular manslaughter while being intoxicated or could ultimately result in the charges being dismissed entirely. A skilled defense attorney can challenge the equipment used or the methods of testing for blood alcohol level. They can also challenge the sobriety test administered by police officers and the accuracy of the results.
When accused of a Watson murder, it is essential to seek legal help immediately from a skilled attorney. The attorney can assess the evidence presented by the prosecution and build a strong defense based on the facts of the matter. With a good defense attorney, you can minimize the risk of the case escalating and facing the maximum sentence for DUI murder.
DUI murder in California is a severe criminal offense that has lasting impacts on the lives of all parties involved. A good understanding of this law may help you avoid such occurrences and the resulting penalties. Seek legal help immediately if you or a loved one is ever accused of a Watson murder – it could be the difference between life imprisonment and freedom.
CALIFORNIA CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS