Accident Resulting in Death in Los Angeles
More and more there are accidents that are resulting in death. This is a serious situation in Los Angeles County and the authorities are prosecuting a lot of these cases depending on the circumstances.
Obviously, if someone is not doing anything illegal and they end up in an accident and somebody passes away, it’s certainly a tragedy but it’s not likely a crime. If on the other hand, the person is doing something illegal and somebody dies as a result of an accident, then they’re likely going to get charged with a crime. The only question is, which crime will it be.
Ordinary vs. Gross Negligence
If the person was just doing some sort of a negligent traffic violation when the accident occurred and then a death results, then that possibly could be filed as some sort of involuntary manslaughter where ordinary negligence is involved, and a death ends up occurring on the Los Angeles streets.
If on the other hand, the driving is more than simple negligence – it’s reckless – and the person is doing something that is customarily known to be dangerous to human life – for example racing another vehicle and a death results – or weaving in and out of traffic in a very dangerous manner or driving at an extremely high rate of speed.
These are all things that take a case outside the realm of simple negligence and rise to the level of gross negligence. And if a death occurs under these circumstances, the person could be charged with vehicular manslaughter which is more serious than the involuntary manslaughter charge. They could be facing prison and a host of other issues related to their record, their freedom and their driving.
Driving Under The Influence
When you use some sort of a substance – whether it be an illegal drug, alcohol – and you end up getting in an accident and somebody dies, we’re now in a situation where the prosecutors are charging second-degree murder under a lot of those circumstances.
Of course, it’s a very subjective thing. They are going to look at all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident and the death before they make their decision. But, where they used to say you had to have a prior DUI and then be warned that it’s dangerous to drink and drive in order to charge somebody with murder, they don’t say that anymore.
The powers that be in the District Attorney’s office in Los Angeles have changed their policy and they feel like people in society already know whether they have prior DUI or not, that it’s dangerous to drink alcohol and drive.
The first thing they are going to be thinking to do if somebody has a blood alcohol level of over .08, gets in a vehicle and gets in a horrible accident and somebody passes away, is to charge that person with second-degree murder.
So, these cases are becoming more and more serious, especially in Los Angeles County. I’m seeing a lot of accident-related deaths and it’s because LA County has so many people in it. Everybody has a vehicle. The streets are crowded. People are speeding around and they don’t realize the consequences of their actions.
What To Do If Charged In a Fatality-Related Accident
If you find yourself charged with either vehicular manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, or even murder of a loved one, you’re obviously going to want to get an attorney who has done these types of cases before.
Not all criminal defense attorneys specialize in this area of the law and not all criminal defense lawyers have the skills, the knowledge and local connections to be able to get the right result in a vehicular accident.
A lot of times I’m using investigations, accident reconstruction experts. Obviously, I’m using my common sense and my experience having done this for twenty-five years to figure out what the best solution is for my client.
It might be we need to take the case to jury trial – or if this is a case that should be negotiated with the prosecutors where we get character letters and a bunch of other information that show the other side of the story, because a lot of times I see the police just doing an investigation that’s one-sided and doesn’t take into account other factors that might have been involved in the accident and the tragedy that occurred.
It doesn’t necessarily always have to be blamed on somebody. Somebody doesn’t always have to pay for what happened. Sometimes accidents happen, and this is where the best criminal defense attorneys are familiar with accident-related death investigations and what the right results should be are invaluable to somebody charged with a serious offense like this.
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