Drunk Driving Attorney in Fresno: What Charges Could You Face for a Fatal DUI Crash?

Aug 28, 2014

A recent list of the 10 worst cities in the US for DUI fatalities included four California cities: San Bernardino, Riverside, Fresno, and Sacramento.

DUI crashes can claim the lives of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. For example, a teenager recently passed away when an allegedly intoxicated driver crashed headlong into his vehicle.

If you get arrested in the aftermath of a fatal accident involving DUI, there are a few possible charges you may face. For people who live in or around Fresno, one of the reasons it's important to hire a reputable drunk driving attorney is to make sure the charges against you are warranted. There may not be enough evidence showing that you were intoxicated at the time or responsible for the accident. It's also possible that the charges brought against you don't fit with the evidence and what happened on the road.

Possible charges

The most serious charge you could face is a 'Watson murder,' or DUI second-degree murder. Prosecutors have to show that the fatality on the road resulted from an intentional act on your part. They also have to prove that you were aware of the dangerous consequences of your actions but knowingly went ahead with them anyway. Usually, a key piece of evidence showing that you knew the consequences of DUI comes from a prior DUI conviction in which you acknowledged the 'Watson admonition' on the dangers of combining drinking with driving or using drugs and driving.

Even if you aren't charged with second-degree DUI murder, you may face other serious criminal charges: Vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated (which could be a misdemeanor or felony) or gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated (a felony). With gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, prosecutors need to prove that in addition to a DUI you also exhibited more than ordinary negligence - for example, a recklessness or violation of traffic law that exceeds a moment's distraction or carelessness on the road.

If you face any of these charges, don't hesitate to contact us. We will help you craft a strong defense and also make sure that the charges are warranted.

Category: DUI Defense

Michael Mitchell


Michael Mitchell is a Fresno attorney who practices in the areas of DUI, personal injury & criminal law. Visit his Google+ profile.