As we approach the holidays, it’s important to remember that celebrations can quickly lead to tragedy when alcohol is involved. Recently, two teenage brothers were killed in a traffic collision when the driver of their vehicle hit two parked cars while driving under the influence. Their vehicle flipped upon contacting the parked cars and the roof was smashed in, killing the two brothers. The driver of the vehicle, a 20-year-old-male, was taken to the hospital after complaining of injuries. Once he received medical attention, he was arrested by police on suspicion of murder.
DUI murders are some of the rarest DUI charges in California, but they’re also the most serious. Not everyone who is involved in a DUI-related death is charged with murder – sometimes it’s manslaughter, and sometimes it’s neither. It all depends on the circumstances of each specific DUI case that law enforcement comes across.
A DUI murder isn’t a separate charge; it’s a regular second-degree murder charge under California Penal Code 187 PC. When someone is charged with second-degree murder in a DUI case, it doesn’t mean that the driver specifically intended to kill someone when he got behind the wheel. However, it does mean that the driver acted with “implied malice,” which means that their actions imply that they were acting with a conscious disregard for the safety of another person (or people). Most of the time, a DUI murder is charged when the suspect already has a DUI arrest on their record.
The penalties for DUI murder include 15 years to life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. If multiple people are killed as a result of the DUI, it’s possible for a defendant to face multiple charges and multiple sentences.
This case resulted in an unfortunate tragedy for all involved. If you choose to enjoy alcohol during this holiday season, remember not to drink and drive. The consequences could be disastrous for you, those you care about, and anyone else who happens to be on the road with you.