From an emotional standpoint, a case where someone is accused driving under the influence and killing another person is one of the toughest. With the victim, you usually have someone who did not deserve to die. They are often young, in the prime of their lives. They are usually also close to the driver. The victim is often a spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, or sibling of the accused. Unfortunately, that person is not available to express forgiveness to the driver.
As for the driver, you often have a person who has never been in trouble in his life. He may be college educated, have a great job, and a loving family. But for this horrible incident he would have continued to be an upstanding citizen.
Recently, a San Jose woman pled guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter after hitting and killing a 79 year old grandmother. She is waiting to be sentenced by a Santa Clara County judge. Her maximum possible sentence is 12 years in the state prison. In fact, the judge is precluded from granting this woman probation unless he finds “unusual circumstances” where the interests of justice require it. According to statements, the family of the victim has forgiven the defendant, and believes that the victim would forgive her as well. Unfortunately, California DUI sentencing law provides somewhat less opportunity for the Court to forgive her.
As a former prosecutor, I can tell you that, regardless of the outcome, nobody wins in these cases. Regardless of what side you are on there is nothing but tragedy in these cases. An innocent victim loses her life, and a contrite survivor is cast into the hell of the California prison system.
A breath test or blood alcohol test only shows your blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of the test, which is not necessarily the same as it would have been at the time you were driving.
Breath tests and blood alcohol tests are given at some point after you have been pulled over for suspected drunk driving. If you have been drinking, your blood alcohol level will rise over time, but that does not mean you were driving drunk. Your blood alcohol level will reach its highest about one hour after drinking. When it comes to using the results of a blood alcohol test as evidence of DUI, all it proves is your blood alcohol content at the time the test was taken. An experienced DUI attorney can show that such a test does not reflect your true BAC when you were driving. A successful DUI defense can help reduce your charges and get you a lesser punishment.
It is not against the law to have a BAC of 0.08 percent, but it is against the law to drive with that blood alcohol level. The prosecution will make assumptions and use circumstantial evidence to estimate what your BAC was at the time you were driving. These assumptions and evidence can and should be challenged.
If you are facing a DUI charge, you need to contact a DUI lawyer to review your case, including the results of your breath test, to build a strong argument on your behalf. Call 1-888-DUI-ANSWER or 1-888-DWI-ANSWER to speak with an attorney today.
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