Many DUI charges can result in serious penalties, but none so much as the penalties for a deadly DUI accident. If a driver is intoxicated by drugs or alcohol and causes a traffic accident that leads to death, they can face felony DUI charges.
Take for example a recent conviction for a man in Irvine, CA who was driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .20% when he made a left turn on a red light and crashed into a sedan with five people inside including a 14 year high school student who later died from her injuries. To make matters worse, the driver had previously been convicted of misdemeanor DUI in 2009.
In October the 28 year old driver, Austin Jeffrey Farley, was convicted of second-degree murder and driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury. In addition, he received added penalties for:
personally inflicting and causing great bodily injury and driving with blood alcohol content of .08% or more, causing bodily injury, according to the Orange County district attorney's office.
Sentencing has yet to be determined, but Farley stands to face 21 years to life in prison for his offense. California lawmakers believe that repeat offenders are the most dangerous type of DUI drivers and a prior DUI conviction illustrates a pattern of bad behavior. This case in unfortunate for everyone involved.
Many articles paint a certain picture of DUI accidents. In this example, most of the coverage highlights Farley's drinking and past DUI conviction. There is more to this story though. For example, the young girl that died was not wearing her seat belt and the passenger in Farley's truck allegedly punched the driver right before the accident.
While this information did not prove helpful to the accused in this situation, it is a good example that there are always two sides to a story. DUI attorneys use information like this to build defenses for their clients as well. Even when suspects think there is nothing that can be done for them, a good lawyer can usually find a solid argument for their defense.