On Tuesday April 1, 2014, an 18-year-old Orange County woman was arraigned on suspicion of several charges related to a fatal DUI accident that claimed the life of a local bicyclist. Sommer Gonzales of Tustin is being charged in connection to the accident which occurred on February 2nd. According to authorities from the Orange County Sheriff's Department, Gonzales veered into the bike lane on Santiago Canyon Road, where she stuck and killed a 21-year-old bicyclist. She pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors state that in addition to causing the fatal accident, Gonzales was driving under the influence of methamphetamine and fled the scene of the accident. An off-duty battalion chief from the Orange County Fire Authority spotted Gonzales' Toyota Corolla with damages to the windshield shortly after the accident. His call to authorities led to Gonzales' arrest.
Gonzales' is being charged with felony vehicular manslaughter, driving under the influence of drugs, hit and run, possession of a controlled substance, and other related misdemeanors. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years and eight months in state prison, as well as an additional year and a half in county jail.
Multiple Allegations & Serious DUI Charges
This particular case is an unfortunate and all-too-common reminder about the dangers of driving under the influence. It also serves to highlight the fact thatcases involving serious DUI charges and multiple allegations pose life-altering penalties. First and foremost, Gonzales' is facing the most serious DUI allegation – vehicular manslaughter. This charge alone can subject drivers to a maximum of 10 years in prison, depending on the circumstances.
Because Gonzales' also fled the scene of the accident and was in possession of a controlled substance, she faces additional penalties and prison time. These additional charges are known as aggravating circumstances, which can intensify penalties and create difficulties for the defense. As demonstrated by this case, multiple allegations can quickly lead to long terms of imprisonment.
If you or someone you know has been charged for DUI in Orange County – including felony DUI or multiples charges – working with experienced attorneys as soon as possible is of crucial importance.
To learn more about your case and how The Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry can help, call (949) 537-2202.