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San Bernardino County Murder DUI Lawyers

Providing an Aggressive Defense Against Second-Degree Murder Charges

If you were accused of causing a fatal car accident when driving under the influence in California, you could face DUI murder charges. If convicted, you’ll have a felony on your criminal record and will spend several years or even life in prison. This means the stakes are too high for you to leave your case to chance. You need help defending yourself, so you should hire a lawyer with experience handling DUI murder charges.

When you hire a DUI defense lawyer from our law firm, you will have a legal professional by your side pushing back against the prosecution’s charges of DUI homicide with implied malice. Call our San Bernardino County law offices immediately after your arrest to start your murder DUI defense case.

What Is a DUI Murder Charge?

When a driver causes a car accident due to drunk or drugged driving and someone is seriously injured, they face a felony DUI charge. But if someone is killed in the accident, that DUI charge could become a vehicular manslaughter or DUI murder charge, both of which are more serious than the typical DUI case.

According to California law, a DUI-related accident that causes someone’s death can be charged in a few ways. One is vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, an accusation of driving under the influence while making negligent decisions, such as speeding. A slightly more serious charge is gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. This means the driver is accused of gross negligence, which could include reckless driving or driving double the legal limit.

If you’re charged with vehicular manslaughter, this suggests you were negligent but not malicious in driving under the influence and causing someone’s death. However, some DUI accident cases are charged as second-degree murder, which accuses the driver of displaying conscious disregard for human life with implied malice.

California law often refers to DUI second-degree murder charges as Watson murder charges. This is due to a case that the California Supreme Court handled, People v. Watson, where it was decided that second-degree murder charges apply if the driver acted with implied malice.

Most fatal DUI accident cases are charged as manslaughter because the prosecutor cannot prove implied malice. But if the prosecutors in your case believe you displayed implied malice and your actions were dangerous to human life, they could file murder charges. This is why you need representation from an experienced murder DUI defense lawyer.

Are You Facing a Watson Murder Charge?

If you’re accused of DUI homicide, it’s important to understand why. Drivers facing DUI murder accusations usually have a prior DUI conviction and were likely given the Watson Advisement when they completed DUI school for it. The Watson Advisement is a warning that impaired driving is dangerous to human life and can lead to second-degree murder charges if they cause a fatal accident when driving under the influence.

So, if you have a previous DUI and completed DUI school, prosecutors will assume you read the Watson Advisement and still operated your motor vehicle while impaired. They may pursue Watson murder charges, alleging that you acted with implied malice when drunk driving even after knowing the risks to human life.

However, some Watson murder cases involve drivers with no prior DUI convictions who have never seen the Watson Advisement. In those cases, prosecutors might pursue DUI homicide charges if they show the driver displayed implied malice and a wanton disregard for human life. Some factors that might lead to Watson murder accusations against drivers who never attended DUI school include high blood alcohol concentration and reckless driving.

Watson murder cases should be handled by lawyers with years of experience with DUI homicide cases. If you’re facing Watson murder charges, contact Patrick Silva, Attorneys at Law, for the DUI defense services you deserve.

What Are the Penalties of DUI Murder?

Murder DUI cases can result in severe penalties, so you should hire a lawyer immediately if you’re arrested for Watson’s murder. You could spend 15 years to life in a California state prison for a Watson murder conviction. If any surviving victims in the crash were significantly injured, they could get three to six additional years in state prison. You could also get one more year of prison for every surviving victim with serious injuries.

Additionally, if you’re convicted of Watson murder, you’ll be charged up to $10,000 in fines. Other penalties of a Watson murder charge typically include driver’s license suspension, a required alcohol treatment program, and loss of some civil rights due to your felony charges. For a chance to avoid the penalties associated with a DUI murder case under Penal Code Section 187, contact our Southern California law firm for a free consultation.

Why Should You Hire Murder DUI Lawyers in San Bernardino County?

If you were charged with driving under the influence and face Watson murder charges, you need the help of a lawyer who has handled murder DUI cases across San Bernardino County. At Patrick Silva, Attorneys at Law, we understand the severity of Watson murder charges, as the penalties of DUI homicide cases are life-changing. This is why we ensure our legal defenses focus on protecting our clients from accusations of implied malice in Watson murder cases.

If you’re worried about the probable consequences of a DUI homicide conviction, contact us for help defending yourself from Watson murder charges. We’ll use our legal skills and resources to aggressively fight the accusations. Whether this involves talking to an accident reconstruction expert, proving that you were never shown the Watson Admonition, or making it difficult for prosecutors to prove implied malice, we can help. Call us at 909-500-4819 for a free consultation to discuss your Watson murder case.