What are you Facing if you're Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and Cause a Death in California?
You get in an accident and a death occurs. If the accident is your fault and the perception is it was because of the alcohol or drugs or whatever it is you were using, in Los Angeles county, you face what's called a Watson murder or a second-degree murder which is 15 to life.
That's the worst thing you'd likely be facing, which of course if horrible.
California Watson Murder Charges
People ask, how could they possibly charge me with murder? What they're doing in that scenario where:
- you're drinking and driving for example, and
- a death occurs,
- they are assuming malice of forethought,
- by the fact that you should know that it's dangerous to drink and drive and that a death could occur because you could get in an accident and kill someone.
In our society today, at least in Los Angeles, that is what has been going on when it comes to deaths of the road involving alcohol.
New Los Angeles District Attorney Policies
Now, there is a new Los Angeles county prosecutor that just took over that may have something different to say about that. Over the course of the last few years, the DA's policy has been:
- if you're drinking alcohol or if you're using drugs, or
- if you're driving around recklessly and you kill somebody,
- they're policy in general is to charge you with second-degree murder and then work from there.
That policy may change because it hasn't always been that way and the new District Attorney sees things a bit different than old regimes of the past.
Retain a Top Attorney for Your Defense
I think the bottom line is, if you or a loved one is charged with a death related to a DUI accident in Los Angeles, you've got to get a top attorney.
I've been doing this nearly 30 years; have handled thousands of DUIs from the defense side; not the prosecution side. That's what you want. I've been able to defend these cases.
In some circumstances, sometimes the accident isn't my client's fault, and therefore, the death isn't my client's fault.
Other cases I've had to negotiate because the accident was my client's fault, and therefore, the death was his/her responsibility and we had to negotiate, and obviously try to get rid of any potential murder charge.
You're looking at more of a felony DUI in that circumstance. I try to keep prison out of prison, preserve their life, their livelihood, their family. I know how important it is.
Criminal Defense for California Watson Murder Charges
You also have to look at the fact, though, that when the prosecutors, judges and police evaluate these cases, they're looking at the life of the person who died and their family when they decide how they're going to handle the case.
So, that's where your defense attorney has to take over and do everything possible from your perspective:
- get a mitigation package together,
- show everything that helps you,
- do the investigation from the defense side.
This is what the prosecutors and the police don't typically do, so we get a fair viewing of exactly what happened in this case that resulted in death.
So, if you want the best and I think you need it. Pick up the phone. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. I enjoy what I do. I enjoy helping people just like you.
Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436.
We serve people is all Southern California courts, including LA County, Orange County, Ventura County, Burbank, Woodland Hills, Calabasas, Hollywood, Riverside, and San Bernardino.
Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0963.