Articles Tagged with dui manslaughter

Published on:

DUI-related accidents in California resulted in several fatalities in early August. Although police didn’t report any deaths due to DUIs in Los Angeles proper around that time, motorists in other parts of the state weren’t as lucky.Carmen-Venegas-DUI-crash

According to Long Beach Patch, 28-year-old Alvin B. Shaw had a blood alcohol content level of 0.15 when he headed west in the eastbound lanes of the Gerald Desmond Bridge in Long Beach around 7 a.m. on August 1. He slammed his 2012 Mercedes-Benz into two other vehicles, a 2014 Ford Fusion and a 2010 Nissan pickup. Both Shaw and the Fusion driver ended up in the hospital with critical injuries. But 30-year-old Miguel Gonzalez, the Nissan driver, wasn’t as lucky. Emergency workers pronounced him dead at the scene.

Shaw allegedly was driving on a suspended license, which he had lost because of a previous DUI conviction in 2014. He faces charges of murder and DUI causing injury within 10 years of another DUI offense.

On August 10th, 44-year old Carmen Venegas of Fremont, driving an Acura, hit a Toyota Scion that was stopped perpendicular to traffic on Highway 101. According to witnesses, the Scion had hit the center divider of the road before ending up on the second lane from the right facing the shoulder. That’s where the car was when Venegas broadsided it. After screening Venegas at the scene, police booked her on suspicion of DUI felony driving, driving without a license and felony manslaughter. She had two 14-year old boys plus another adult passenger in the car when the accident occurred.

Garrett James Gelrud, 34, caused a head-on collision near Pala on August 5th, killing the driver of the other car. His Chevrolet Suburban crossed the double yellow lines on Old Highway 395 and rammed into a Nissan Versa driven by 62-year-old Juan Corza Gonzalez. Gelrud ran from the scene but police caught up with him. He faces charges of second-degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and DUI causing injury.

Designing and executing an effective defense against DUI charges (even simple ones) is not intuitive. Fortunately, you can trust the seasoned, highly successful Michael Kraut. Call a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles with nearly two decades of experience.

Continue reading

Published on:

Our Los Angeles DUI attorneys were heartbroken upon learning of the tragic story of Jacqueline Rivera and her 11-old daughter, Aailiyah. Both died after being rear-ended at a Fresno, California intersection on November 22, 2014. The man charged with the DUI that allegedly caused their deaths, Rafael Arce Pedroza, could face life in prison.DUI-manslaughter-charge

Prosecutors don’t have all the necessary details yet, but an AB30 report explains Pedroza allegedly has a DUI conviction in San Diego. He has also faced assault charges in Los Angeles.

For the alleged killing of Jacqueline Rivera and Aailiyah, Pedroza faces charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while driving under the influence of alcohol. On their own, these charges would be Pedroza’s second DUI offense. However, the charge of gross vehicular manslaughter carries a much harsher penalty than a normal second Los Angeles DUI offense.

Pedroza’s prosecutors now also allege that he fled the scene of the accident that killed Ms. Rivera and her daughter. Bystanders tried to help the Riveras escape their burning SUV, but Pedroza ran from the scene and was later apprehended. Legal analyst Tony Capozzi explains, “If [police] can tie the person they found under the bed to this accident… that’s going to be told to the jury [as] an indication of his guilt.”

The deaths of Jacqueline and Aailiyah Rivera could have been prevented, and surely many people are anxious to see justice. Yet the exact sentencing will depend upon what prosecutors charge Pedroza as well as the strength of the evidence in the case. Many people don’t know all the differences among DUI manslaughter, DUI manslaughter with gross negligence, and DUI murder. Knowledge of these terms can provide potential DUI defendants with the power to fight wrongful convictions if they occur. The attorneys at the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers define them here:

DUI Manslaughter: This occurs when the driver was under the influence of alcohol but was not “extremely negligent.” This can also apply to cases involving traffic violations or any case in which the driver did not “take reasonable care to prevent injury or death.”

DUI Manslaughter with Gross Negligence: This is the charge brought against Rafael Pedroza. It refers to cases in which the driver was DUI and drove “in [a] reckless manner that is significantly more than ordinary negligence.” A judge can sentence the defendant up to ten years in prison for each person killed.

DUI Murder: Also called Watson murder, this occurs when a DUI driver is cited with gross negligence and committed with malice aforethought or vicious will.

Do you need help defending against a serious charge? Call a qualified Los Angeles DUI defense attorney with the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers immediately.

Continue reading

Published on:

We see (and report on) so many disturbing Los Angeles DUI cases. Unfortunately, these events often seem to blend together.soukvilay-barton-dui-manslaughter

Whether you’ve been following this blog for several weeks or many years, you’ve probably noticed a recurring theme: people often make dumb/dangerous decisions to drive DUI and then compound their woes by doing other dumb/dangerous “stuff” after the fact, such as leaving the scene of an accident, spitting in the face of a police officer, etc.

A really distressing case out of Riverside presents a dramatic, deeply disturbing portrait of what can “go wrong” during a DUI. According to witnesses, 37-year-old Soukvilay Barton had been fighting with family members at her Riverside home on the 14000 block of Bush Avenue last Friday evening. In a fog of anger, Ms. Barton hopped into her BMW convertible and attempted to leave the home. Her father, 69-year-old Bounmy Rajsombath, did not want her to get in the car, because she had been drinking. He ran to the driveway to stop her from backing out of the garage, but she did so anyway and struck her father. Barton immediately stopped the car as soon as she realized she injured her dad and collapsed sobbing. Emergency workers rushed Rajsombath to Riverside Community Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Police arrested Barton, meanwhile, for DUI and escorted her to the Riverside Police’s Magnolia Station. Reports suggest that she could face enhanced charges, such as DUI manslaughter, in connection with the death of her father.

According to sergeant Dan Reeves, who investigated the tragedy, Rajsombath spent his final moments pleading with his daughter not to drive DUI, before she hit and killed him. The situation speaks to the often forgotten fact that DUIs can tear families asunder, sometimes literally. Obviously, this young woman did not want to hurt or kill her father, but a single bad decision or momentary lapse of reason can lead to lifetimes of agony and remorse, both for the offender (and for the offender’s family) and for the victim (and the victim’s family).

Depending on the nature of a DUI manslaughter, prosecutors can ask for enhanced charges, such as “gross negligence” – a special kind of negligence beyond standard carelessness – that can lead to extra jail time and more penalties.

For help understanding how to deal with your case, call an experienced Los Angeles DUI defense attorney with the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers today for sympathetic and sound assistance.
Continue reading

Published on:

Few recent Los Angeles DUI cases match the scope or tragedy of a 2012 collision in Miami, FL that killed 13-year-old cheerleader Kaely Camacho.sandor-dui-manslaughter

The accident occurred when Sandor Guillen, 30, struck the Camacho family’s minivan with his Land Rover, tearing the van in half before fleeing the scene. The police later apprehended Guillen in a nearby field and charged him with DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide, and leaving the scene of an accident. In March, a jury found Guillen guilty on all three counts.

On June 6, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Ellen Sue Venzer sentenced Guillen to 20 years in prison, as well as 2 years of house arrest, 7 years probation, and a yearly charitable donation in Camacho’s honor.

This tragic case has rocked the community, its notoriety attracting crowds of spectators and much media attention. Although Guillen made no statement of remorse at his sentencing hearing, family members accused the media of making the case into a “modern-day lynching,” depicting the defendant as a monster rather than an upstanding individual who made a terrible mistake.

Cases such as Guillen’s present heartbreaking scenarios to everyone involved. Driving under the influence is a serious charge with heavy consequences, and when a person has died, the tragedy extends to the perpetrator, the victims, their families, and the community.

California DUI Law

Under California law, an individual can be charged with vehicular manslaughter when the defendant violates a traffic law or engages in negligent behavior leading to the death of another person. When alcohol is involved, the offense becomes more complex and severe.

In some DUI manslaughter cases, law enforcement agencies may file premature and excessive charges against the defendant to try to force a plea deal. The media may portray defendants as villains, when in reality, they are simply individuals who have made grave errors.

If you are facing DUI manslaughter charges, you are likely frightened, overwhelmed, and full of regret. You don’t need to face this on your own. A Los Angeles DUI attorney well-versed in California law and the legal system will use every tool available – from accident reconstruction to toxicology to eyewitness reports – to resolve your case.

Contact Kraut Legal Group today to begin your defense.
Continue reading

Published on:

Last December 6th, 27-year-old Mallory Dies was killed in a Santa Barbara crash, and authorities arrested driver Raymond Morua in connection with the fatal Southern California DUI.

Morua had been working as an aid for Congresswomen Lois Capps, when he hit Dies after leaving a holiday party in Downtown Santa Barbara. Now, Dies’s parents, Matt and Raeona Dies, have filed a wrongful death suit against Morua… and named Congresswoman Capps and the Federal Government as defendants.

The plaintiffs claim that Representative Capps hired Morua, even though he had two DUI convictions as well as convictions for embezzlement and hit and run under his belt. Capps also failed to monitor his behavior or his driving. The lawsuit claims that Morua had been working for Capps on the night in question — as the plaintiff’s attorney put it “Mr. Morua has said under oath, under penalty of perjury, that he was on the job… [and this makes] Lois Capps … responsible.” Congresswoman Capps claims that Morua had NOT been working for on the night in question, and she issued statements of empathy: “My heart goes out to the family of the victim… I lost a daughter way before her time, and it’s a heartache.”

The 27-year-old had been on life support for several days before she passed away from her injuries. Her family claims that they incurred medical bills to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and they want compensation. Morua could face two decades behind bars on his May 28 sentencing.

We’ve been talking a lot recently about Los Angeles DUI manslaughter laws — such as Penal Code 191.5 (a), which defines gross vehicular manslaughter while DUI. But even if you don’t kill someone, you can face substantial jail time (over a year), just for injuring someone while driving DUI. According to California Vehicle Code Section 23153 (a) and (b), your penalties will depend on how many people got hurt and the nature of those injuries. If a person got seriously hurt, prosecutor can ask for a “great bodily injury” charge, which is an enhancement, and it can lead to three additional years of jail time. For help coming up with an appropriate defense against your Los Angeles DUI charges, call attorney Michael Kraut and the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers team immediately to schedule your free consultation with us.
Continue reading

Published on:

This awful news qualifies as one of most disturbing Los Angeles DUI stories of the year: a 16-year-old girl died over the weekend, after a suspected DUI driver smashed into her Palmdale apartment complex.fatal-los-angelesdui

Police found a mini-van jammed inside a building on 10th Street and Avenue R East at around 4 in the morning. Per Sheriff’s Lieutenant Ken Wright (from an interview he did for KNX 1070), “The vehicle was embedded into the building and went into the bedroom of a 16-year-old girl who has passed away as a result of injures from the accident.”

16-year-old Giselle Mendoza had attended Palmdale High School. Her father, Alberto Mendoza, was inconsolable – calling himself “destroyed.” Meanwhile, 20-year-old Roberto Rodriguez – also of Palmdale – has been arrested on suspicion DUI.

Per Lieutenant Wright “[Roberto] has been taken to the hospital to be treated for his injuries and will be booked for vehicular manslaughter … preliminary investigation indicates he was under the influence of alcohol.”

A local eyewitness, James Fisher King, told reporters: “I saw a car coming down 10th, east, about 80-85 miles per hour, and didn’t stop or hesitate. Just right into the building. Boom.” Another girl — just 14-years-old — almost also perished in the accident. Rodriguez’s car plowed through her bedroom as well. But she had been sleeping on the couch that night, fortuitously. Rodriguez made his $100,000 bail, which outraged the victim’s father, who said “You have a lot of money… and you spend money, and come out. And forget it. Somebody died… it’s not fair.”

The powerful emotions that follow a DUI accident in which someone dies can lead to unbelievable amounts of grief, confusion, and frustration on both sides of the equation. It’s easy for people to jump to conclusions about who caused the accident and why and what should be done. However, it’s critical to conduct a sober assessment of the facts.

Prosecutors can choose from an array of charges in DUI accidents that lead to injury or death. A typical non-injury DUI might be charged per California Vehicle Code Section 23152. An injury DUI, on the other hand, might be charged per CVC 23153. The difference between these codes is not just one number – it’s the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony.

If someone dies in an accident in which DUI is suspected, prosecutors can seek vehicular manslaughter charges. There are different grades of this charge, as well. “Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated” is defined by California Penal Code Section 191.5 (a). Prosecutors face a very stiff burden of proof in such cases, but the punishments can be comparably severe. Depending on what happened, the offender can face anywhere from probation to 10 years behind bars in a California prison for every person who died in the crash.

To construct an appropriate defense to your charges, contact a Los Angeles DUI criminal defense attorney at the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers today to schedule a free consultation with a former prosecutor and Harvard Law School educated attorney.
Continue reading

Published on:

Tragedy struck on South Victoria Avenue over the weekend, as 38-year-old assistant principal, Christopher Prewitt, lost his life after being struck by a car driven, allegedly, by a DUI driver.christopher-prewitt-dui-crash

Authorities arrested 23-year-old Shante Chappell of Oxnard for Los Angeles drug DUI and vehicular manslaughter in connection with the crime. Chappell made a $50,000 bond, and he faces his first day in court on Friday.

Prewitt, who had a major hearing disability, competed for the U.S team in the World Games for the Deaf as a water polo player. He coached and taught at the DeAnza Academy of Technology and Arts. The principal of that school, Hector Guerrero, reflected on Prewitt’s life and legacy, saying that he impacted “thousands of lives” and that “positivity was what Chris Prewitt was, and the kids absolutely loved that about him.”

This is obviously a deeply tragic loss – not just for Prewitt’s family, but also for the community and the school – and it speaks to how DUI manslaughter cases can ripple across many lives and the entire community.

Given the profound nature of these charges, prosecutors can seek substantial penalties in such cases. Depending on the nature of the crash and death, a defendant can face stringent charges per California Penal Code Section 191.5(a) – “gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.” This charge is complex, and prosecutors must work diligently to prove, among other things, that the defendant acted in a “grossly negligent” fashion. Technically speaking, that’s a type of negligence that goes beyond ordinary carelessness and bad judgment or lack of attention.

Consider, for reference, the Olivia Culbreath case. In case you missed the headlines, a young woman, while allegedly DUI, killed 6 people after driving 100 miles per hour the wrong way on the 60 freeway. Culbreath’s alleged actions could easily be considered grossly negligent, because everyone knows that driving 100 miles per hour the wrong way on the freeway can create a high risk of bodily injury or death. Any reasonable person would tell you that.

Without more facts about the Prewitt case, it is hard to know what prosecutors will ultimately ask for in this case.

If you or someone you love is contending with a Los Angeles DUI charge, former prosecutor and Harvard Law School educated attorney, Michael Kraut, and his team at the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers would be happy to provide a free and confidential consultation about your options.
Continue reading

Contact Information