Beverly Hills Defense Attorney, Certified Specialist in Criminal Law, Defends
Vehicular Homicide Cases
Murder, Second Degree Implied Malice Murder (including “Watson Murder”),
Vehicular Manslaughter with Gross Negligence While Intoxicated, Misdemeanor
Like life itself, changes in one’s life is like a blink of an eye.
Because of an error in judgment, you're no longer a solid citizen
— you, of all people, are accused of homicide. In your heart, you
know you're not a murderer. But the damage is done, and awful consequences await.
For more than 40 years, I have represented people with no criminal history,
ordinary law abiding people, who now face criminal charges. Criminal charges?
That’s someone else, not me. The anxiety, the lack of personal control,
the fear of the unknown, and, now the realization you are “hooked”
into the criminal justice system yourself. “How could that be? Me?”
All because of a lack of judgment, an unforeseeable circumstance, or a
unique situation that led to an accident, such a situation never having
occurred before, and not likely ever to occur in the future, your life
is now changed.
The law in California is very punitive and often unforgiving in circumstances
where death results from the negligent operation of a vehicle. It’s
hard to imagine how a traffic violation could turn into a homicide prosecution.
Depending on a finding of fact, and a finding of mental state, you could
either be fined $100. or go to prison for life. The disparate ranges among
possible sentences in vehicular homicide is frightening. Until the legislature,
or the courts, make the line between murder and manslaughter more definitive
than it is now, the normal law abiding citizen is at risk of receiving
a punishment disproportionate to the “criminality” of his actions.
Most negligent cases, and DUI cases, do not form the basis for a charge
of murder. However, the California Supreme Court ruled in the landmark
case People v. Watson 30 Cal. 3d 290 that a driver who is aware of the
dangers of driving while intoxicated, knows at the time he is driving
that death is a highly probable consequence, and nonetheless deliberately
drives with a conscious disregard for human life, may be charged with murder.
These vehicular homicide cases are very serious. Be certain that your attorney
knows the law on this subject matter and has extensive experience handling
There are many qualified attorneys who have handled these types of homicides.
I happen to be one of them. Know your attorney. Ask others. Don’t
rely on advertisements. Do your due diligence.