When someone is under the influence of alcohol and they cause a fatal accident, it can lead to severe consequences, even though the DUI defendant is a good person who made a huge mistake. While the individual had no intention of causing the death of another, the prosecution often argues that the killing was intentional because of the common knowledge that drunk driving is dangerous to human life.
DUI charges for fatal accidents, include:
- Watson murder,
- Vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, or
- Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
Each of these charges can result in a felony conviction. The harshest of these charges is Watson murder, which can be charged anytime a DUI accident results in death.
Signing the "Watson Advisement"
A Watson murder specifically applies to people who have been convicted of DUI in the past. Read on as we explain this in detail: As a result of the People v. Watson, anyone who’s been convicted of DUI and signed the "Watson Advisement," acknowledging that it’s dangerous to drive under the influence of alcohol, can be charged with murder if they cause a fatal DUI accident in the future.
To be convicted of Watson murder, the prosecution must prove: 1) that the death was caused by an intentional act, 2) that the consequences of the act are inherently dangerous to human life, and 3) the driver disregarded their knowledge of this danger when committing this act.
When DUI defendants sign the Watson Advisement, they are openly acknowledging that drinking and driving is a danger and that they’ve been made aware of the risks. When a DUI suspect is accused of Watson murder, they face the most aggressive sentencing and penalties of all the DUI charges, including:
- 15 years to life in prison
- A $10,000 fine
- Possible restitution for the victim’s family
- A strike according to California's Three Strikes Law
As tragic as fatal DUI accidents are, the victims and their families are NOT the only ones who suffer. Since DUI is the one offense that is commonly committed by normally law-abiding citizens, the person facing Watson murder charges can easily be an upstanding citizen of the community, such as a mother or a father with a family depending on them.
These types of individuals have the most to lose upon a conviction: their families, their reputation, and their careers. Everything they’ve worked so hard for.
SEEK HELP FROM THE DUI QUEEN
At the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, our legal team understands the stakes are elevated in DUI cases involving accidents, injuries, and fatalities - which is why we fight aggressively on behalf of clients facing these charges. If you have questions about your case and how we can help you, contact our firm for a free case evaluation.