MacGregor & Collins, lLP Articles Teen DUI Kills Five in California

Teen DUI Kills Five in California

By MacGregor & Collins, LLP  Apr. 5, 2013 11:22a

A teenager is now in custody with a bail set at $3.5 million after five related passengers in a vehicle were killed. The LA Times reported that the eighteen year old teen was allegedly under the influence at the time. Beer bottles were additionally discovered in his vehicle. Two additional passengers survived but remain in critical condition according to the same report.

This will be a challenging case, because of the following factors:

  • This is considered to be Underage DUI. The age limit for purchasing alcohol is twenty one. An eighteen year old is legally an adult, but nevertheless considered to be a minor in DUI cases.
  • There were five people killed and two injured. This counts as Vehicular Manslaughter while Intoxicated, and DUI with Injury. Whether the teen is charged as a juvenile or adult the fines will potentially be steep. A competent defense can however attempt to negotiate plea deals or lowered sentences if DUI was not in fact the cause of accident.

Both the victims and the accused are natives of California, despite the accident happening in Las Vegas. The following charges apply in California Vehicular Manslaughter and DUI with Injury charges:

Vehicular Manslaughter sentences vary depending on several factors such as negligence or level of intoxication. It includes:

  • Gross Vehicular Manslaughter while intoxicated which carries four, six or ten years in the state prison. This includes being grossly negligent while driving, being intoxicated, and also killing a life with no malice aforethought.
  • Vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated carries sentences of one year's stay in the county jail, or if it's considered to be a felony, the sentence equals sixteen months, two or four years in prison.

There could possibly be a sentencing enhancement of three to six years in prison for the victims who survived and succumbed to injuries.

What does the law state regarding multiple victims?

Since there are five victims in this case, the accused might be prosecuted for each. Other fines the teen may face include probation, thousands in fines, victim restitution and more. He may also be charged with possession of alcohol or being under the influence of alcohol as a minor. Given that there were beer bottles in the vehicle at the time, this increases the likelihood of being charged with these additional crimes. The LA Times ran a follow up story on the surviving relatives whose family was wiped out in an instant here.

Written by Randy Collins

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