Articles Posted in Felony DUI

Most DUI charges in the state of California are classified as misdemeanors.  This is the case most of the time even if you have previous misdemeanor DUI convictions on your criminal record. The caveat concerns what are known as “aggravating factors.”  The purpose of this article is to explain the types of aggravating factors capable of justifying a felony DUI charge. If you have been charged with felony DUI in California, you need to contact an experienced California DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. The penalties for a felony DUI conviction are severe. With your future, finances, freedom, and reputation at stake, you need a skilled attorney.

Aggravating Factor #1: Causing Injury or Death While Under the Influence

The first aggravating factor serving as grounds for a felony DUI charge in California is causing injuries or fatalities to another person while driving under the influence of alcohol. The number one concern of California’s driving-related laws, including those pertaining to drinking and driving, is the health and safety of the state’s drivers and pedestrians. In the eyes of the state, then, injuries or fatalities that result from a conscious decision to drink and get behind represent the most flagrant violation of California’s driving laws.

According to MADD (Mother’s Against Drunk Driving), in 2014, drivers operating vehicles under the influence of drugs or alcohol killed around 10,500 people; 345,000 were injured. The statistics for the number of accidents occurring in San Diego County due to drunken driving are staggering and most of these accidents occur on or around holidays. The most common holidays where accidents are most likely to occur due to irresponsible post-party practices are the Fourth of July, New Year’s and St. Patrick’s Day.

         Focusing on New Year’s, the San Diego County authorities did what they could to ensure the safety of the roads to prevent New Year’s DUI cases for 2015, but to no avail. Statewide in the State of California, DUI arrests were down from 2014; but this wasn’t the case for San Diego County specifically. Blocking out just a 12-hour window from New Year’s Eve to New Year’s Day 2013-2014, there were 324 DUI arrests in the state of California and 14 in San Diego County. The same time frame for 2014-2015 New Year’s Eve to New Year’s Day netted 309 DUI arrests in the state of California and 20 in San Diego County. It may not seem like much of an increase, but percentage wise it’s a 42.9% jump for San Diego County. Last New Year’s there were no fatalities while this year there was one; statewide there were 5 fatalities this year.

         In an attempt to lower the statistics for those not only driving under the influence (DUI) but also driving without a valid license, authorities publicized their plans to increase DUI checkpoints starting right after Christmas (Dec. 26) through New Year’s. Studies in San Diego County have shown that well published reports stating the intention of having increased police presence can lower irresponsible acts of partygoers by up to 20 percent. San Diego County police ran several DUI checkpoints from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. Christmas Weekend, inspired by the nearly 2,300 injuries that occurred last year around the same time. The checkpoints proved successful in finding and arresting drunken drivers but also increased the statistics from last year. A report released by CHP said 18 people were arrested and two died in San Diego County between 6 p.m. Christmas Eve and 8 a.m. the day after Christmas. That’s six more arrests than last year and the same number of fatalities. The New Year’s statistics also went up from last year as a result of increased DUI checkpoints throughout San Diego County; officers arrested 34 impaired drivers in San Diego County between New Year’s Eve and that Friday morning, compared to 20 DUI arrests in the same holiday period a year ago. During the same weekend, continuing from Friday to Sunday (New Year’s weekend) the statistic increased dramatically, doubling the total number of drunken drivers taken off of the streets. Officers arrested 69 drivers driving under the influence (DUI) in San Diego County between New Year’s Eve and that Sunday on the weekend following New Year’s.

A three car pileup occurred last night around the 1100 block of East Washington Avenue in Escondido. According to police, a black truck driving around 9p.m. crashed into a silver sedan; makes and models of the vehicles aren’t released. When the truck rammed into the silver sedan, the impact propelled the sedan to roll over and smash into another sedan, white in color. The truck driver, the driver at fault, attempted to escape and make it a hit-n-run case, but he was immediately taken into custody on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI). Luckily, none of the individuals involved were harmed by the accident/rolling vehicles, but particles on the street were a hazard to other drivers on the road. The impact caused dangerous debris to slide across the road to the extent that police had to close the road to traffic while the scene was investigated and the shards and scrap metals were removed from the road.

Sources:
“Suspected DUI Driver Causes 3-Car Crash” – NBC San Diego

Alan Long was re-elected into the Murrieta city council last week after choosing to step down from his position as mayor. A type of scandal erupted when Long was caught driving under the influence (DUI) and mishandling his pickup truck, causing him to lose control of the vehicle and ram into the car in front of him. The car he hit contained four teenage girls, all high school cheerleaders ranging from the ages of 14 to 17; they came out of the accident with injuries. Long was already being charged with one count of felony DUI causing injury and now the girls who were injured are suing him as well. Long, who has a job working as a battalion chief for the Anaheim Fire Department, is in over his head and is scheduled for arraignment on December 11. Long’s attorney, apparently, still hasn’t seen the lawsuit being brought against him. In the upcoming weeks more about the story will unfold and the perspective of the injured girls from the accident will be heard.

Sources:
“Councilman Sued For Alleged DUI Crash With Teens” – UT San Diego