What is California's Watson Advisement?
For California drivers, the future consequences of a DUI conviction can be made worse when a driver is made to sign the Watson Advisement following a DUI conviction.
The Watson Advisement is the result of a 1981 Supreme Court case that declared someone driving under the influence who also causes a fatal accident can be found guilty of second-degree murder.
According to the Watson Advisement, if a person has one DUI conviction on their record and happens to be involved in a DUI accident where someone dies, they are subject to harsher penalties.
What Prosecutors Must Prove to Convict a Watson Murder
An individual may be required to sign the Watson Advisement after being convicted of their first DUI in California. The document makes any potential DUI manslaughter charges easier to prosecute as murder.
To be convicted of Watson murder, the prosecution must prove:
- That the death was caused by an intentional act,
- That the consequences of the act are inherently dangerous to human life,
- The driver disregarded their knowledge of this danger when committing this act.
Signing the Watson advisement allows prosecutors to easily prove that a driver accused of driving under the influence knew that they could kill someone, since they understood the risks of driving under the influence, and when they chose to do so, they demonstrated a disregard for human life.
What Does It Mean If I Sign the Watson Advisement?
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.
Signing the Watson Advisement means you acknowledge that:
- Driving under the influence affects the ability to operate a vehicle,
- Driving under the influence is a danger to human life, and
- Driving under the influence may result in a person's death, and if it does, the driver can be charged with murder.
By signing the Watson Advisement, you give the court consent to charge you with murder if someone is killed as a result of your drunk driving. If you are facing DUI charges, no matter the circumstances, you should look to retain legal counsel right away.
Aggressive Defense from the DUI Queen
At the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc., 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.
For more information defending your DUI case, contact our firm today.