Being charged with a DUI in Long Beach, California, can be confusing and overwhelming. On top of that, sometimes, a drunk driving mistake can turn into long-term, severe consequences, especially if it results in the harm or death of other parties involved in the accident. A DUI conviction for vehicular manslaughter can lead to prison time, fines, and license suspension. This risk of severe penalties is why hiring a qualified Long Beach DUI lawyer is so crucial.
A criminal defense lawyer from Gibbons & Gibbons can represent you if you are facing any DUI charge, including one involving vehicular manslaughter. Our team of lawyers can thoroughly analyze your case and the evidence the prosecution is holding against you and determine the most effective defense strategy in order to work toward optimal case outcomes.
Vehicular manslaughter happens when a person who is operating a car or another vehicle takes the life of another individual without doing so on purpose. There are certain unlawful driving conditions that can lead to vehicular manslaughter, including driving under the influence of substances, driving recklessly or aggressively, speeding, or being grossly negligent.
A Long Beach vehicular manslaughter crime can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony and lead to a variety of penalties, as well as a long-term criminal record. Under California Penal Code 192, vehicular manslaughter is legally defined to be split into certain following categories.
Under California’s penal code, gross negligence by vehicular manslaughter can be complex to prove. In order to get a conviction for such a crime, the prosecutor must be able to present the following forms of evidence to prove the following:
If the prosecutor cannot prove that there was gross negligence by the driver, then it’s possible to only be charged with vehicular manslaughter. Gross negligence cannot constitute small lapses in attention, judgment errors, or minor fatigue. Gross negligence occurs when the following factors are at play:
Gross negligence is ultimately characterized by a lack of regard for human life and the consequences of particular reckless actions. Therefore, any death that might have occurred from the actions can be considered the natural and likely outcome of the negligence.
Vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence is a wobbler crime, which means that it can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the particular details of the case. Such details can include the driver’s criminal history and whether there were aggravating factors involved.
For a misdemeanor case, the potential penalties include a fine of up to $1,000 and jail time of up to one year. Misdemeanor summary probation can also be required. While the crime will appear on your record, the misdemeanor charges for this crime are much less severe and do not have the long-lasting consequences of felony charges.
If, on the other hand, this crime is convicted as a felony, then the penalties are much more serious. Such felony penalties include spending two, four, or six years in prison, paying up to $10,000 in fines, and possible felony probation.
Another category of vehicular manslaughter under the California Penal Code is vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. This crime occurs when a driver is operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and it leads to the accidental death of another person. This crime is considered to be manslaughter and not murder because it is unintentional.
It’s important to note that gross vehicular manslaughter is a felony, and therefore, the penalties are harsh. A person can face up to four, six, or ten years in prison as a penalty. If you have been charged with vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, then it is crucial to work with a criminal defense lawyer who can fight on your behalf and work to get your charges reduced or dropped.
If an officer suspects that a driver is intoxicated, then they have grounds to pull them over. Later, in court, they must justify their grounds for pulling an individual over, and they must prove that they did not do so based on profiling of any sort.
Actions that can lead to reasonable suspicion that an individual is driving under the influence include swerving between lanes, not coming to a full stop at a stop sign, driving too fast or too slow, and not using a turn signal when appropriate.
After the officer pulls the driver over, they will ask for their identification and car insurance information. They will also ask them to perform some sort of test, such as a field sobriety test or a chemical test.
If you are pulled over for a DUI, it’s important to comply with the officer’s demands. It’s important to remember, though, that you are not required to share any information beyond your basic personal information and insurance. If the officer asks you other questions, you should exercise your right to remain silent and tell them you will not speak until you have had legal counsel.
After the officer takes the arrested individual to the police station, they will likely be required to take another blood or breath test. If you are subjected to a breath or blood test during a DUI arrest, it’s important to comply. Refusing such a test can result in even greater DUI penalties, such as a minimum one-year suspension of your driver’s license.
If the arrest is for a misdemeanor offense, then the arrested individual will likely be released a couple of hours after the arrest occurs. However, if the case resulted in an accident or it was a felony offense, as is often the case with vehicular manslaughter, then the individual might have to post bail in order to get out of jail. The released will be given a citation for a court hearing and a temporary driver’s license.
During a DUI arrest in California, law enforcement will take your driver’s license. They will mail it directly to the DMV. If you are an out-of-state driver who gets arrested in California, then law enforcement will not be able to take the license.
As of 2019, it is possible to apply for a restricted driver’s license directly after the arrest occurs. Such a driver’s license is conditionally tied to an ignition interlock device, or IID, installation in your vehicle.
An IID can detect levels of alcohol on the breath and whether an individual has attempted to tamper with it. The car will not start if the device detects alcohol on the breath. If you are granted an IID-restricted license, the amount of time for which you will need to use the restricted license is dependent on your criminal DUI history.
The DUI criminal defense lawyer team at Gibbons & Gibbons understands how critical driving privileges are for maintaining your everyday lifestyle and supporting yourself and your family. We can help walk you through the driver’s license suspension process and explore the different options to keep your mobility intact.
There is both a civil process and a judicial process that an individual will have to go through after facing a DUI arrest in California. The civil process is handled by the DMV and concerns the suspension of the driver’s license.
Directly after the DUI arrest, a temporary pink license is granted. During the civil process, the DMV will decide whether to suspend this license or not. It’s critical to note that you will need to request the DMV hearing within ten days after your arrest occurs; otherwise, you will have your license automatically suspended after 30 days have passed.
A DUI lawyer from Gibbons & Gibbons can help reassure you that all critical deadlines are met throughout the DUI defense process so that your rights and driving privileges are not compromised due to bureaucratic mistakes. They can help schedule your hearing further out so that you have more time to prepare and try to work with DMV hearing officers with whom they are familiar.
At the DMV hearing, a DUI lawyer can carry out the process for you. They will present evidence and arguments to persuade the DMV that your driver’s license should not be suspended. They can use the DMV hearing to start to gather evidence and build your defense case.
In order to gather evidence, a DUI attorney can subpoena a multitude of evidence, including testimony from the arresting officer at the hearing, as well as the calibration and maintenance datasheets for the breathalyzer used during the arrest.
After the hearing, the DMV officer will likely make a decision within one month. If the defendant wins the hearing, their license will not be suspended, and if not, they will have their license suspended a couple of days after receiving the notice. It’s important to note that even if an individual wins a DMV hearing and does not get their license suspended, a judge can still rule for them to have their license suspended in the court case.
If the DUI was not related to alcohol, then there will be no DMV hearing. The DUI hearing is only to determine whether an individual was driving over the limit of 0.08% blood alcohol concentration.
If the DMV does suspend your driver’s license, then there is typically the option to get a restricted driver’s license. This is issued within 30 days of the suspension. With a restricted driver’s license, you can carry out basic everyday tasks, such as going to work or an educational engagement, taking your children to school, and running errands to keep the house running.
You will also be able to drive to any other court hearings or DMV-required alcohol education programs. Depending on the case, the individual may be able to get their restricted license without waiting up to 30 days.
It is critical to not operate a vehicle during the time that your driver’s license is suspended, even if the situation may seem urgent. If you are caught driving and your license is suspended, then you will be charged with other crimes, which can lead to more jail time and fees. A DUI attorney from Gibbons & Gibbons can assist you with any problems you may face regarding your driver’s license suspension.
The DUI court proceedings for a vehicular manslaughter case can be critical to deciding factors that will influence the rest of the defendant’s life. An experienced and knowledgeable vehicular manslaughter DUI attorney can attend all of the pretrial hearings for you and, depending on your situation, negotiate on your behalf with prosecutors, collect evidence, and run motions.
A DUI attorney from Gibbons & Gibbons can help you decide whether a plea bargain or going to trial will yield more optimal outcomes for your case. If it comes to it, they can represent you in court and use testimonies and evidence to argue on your behalf.
The defense lawyers at Gibbons & Gibbons have years of experience working on aggravated drunk driving cases in Long Beach, CA. They apply their knowledge of state law and experience with the local court processes to develop a defense strategy that is optimal for each case. A lawyer from our firm can work with you to protect your rights and your reputation. Reach out to a member of our team today to get started.