Driver pleads guilty to multiple charges including vehicular manslaughter
Make no mistake about it: wrong-way driving is not only illegal, punishable to the degree of a misdemeanor charge, but it also causes a considerable degree of personal injury to many innocent drivers. When combined with alcohol and drug use, the result of wrong-way driving is deadly.
A 23-year-old La Jolla man pleaded guilty to the wrongful death resulting in vehicular manslaughter of a San Diego sheriff deputy while traveling westbound on Route 52 on Feb. 28. The man was under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, and methamphetamines while engaging in wrong-way driving.
Developments in the case were headed in the right direction when he pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter—by far the most serious charge held against him.
The San Diego Union Tribune reports that Lopez now faces almost 12 years in state prison. A San Diego Superior Court Judge may have passed the buck when she ignored several less serious charges against the man “in the interest of justice.” During sentencing, the judge dismissed other charges against the man noting they would not make a difference to his overall prison sentence.
The interest of the law is to protect the individual in all cases
The interest of the law is to protect the individual. As the case began to develop in court, arguments for the man were unsuccessfully presented by his defense attorney saying the man was unaware of being pursued and therefore should not be “held to answer” for the vehicular manslaughter charge held against him, claiming the whole ordeal was a “freakish accident.”
The Deputy District Attorney, however, put an end to the unsuccessful argument and said the man should have known that wrong-way driving is dangerous. His high level of alcohol intoxication (a blood alcohol level of 0.11 nearly 2 hours after the crash) coupled with marijuana and methamphetamine use did nothing to protect him in this case. California DUI laws define the legal limit of alcohol use as 0.08.
The law serves to protect your rights—don’t let your rights go to waste
The purpose of the law is to establish boundaries between individuals, groups, and organizations. In fact, the law is a good deterrent to “bad” behavior. It defines the limits of freedom from one course of action to another. The law should even extend to, and protect, individuals such as this officer who have lost their lives at the hands of another.
If you’ve been seriously injured in a DUI accident, or if you’ve suffered from the loss of a loved one involved in a wrongful death, we can help, even if you’ve been involved in a DUI accident with assumption of risk. Contact our experienced accident attorneys for a FREE consultation today.
SENIOR PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY & FIRM FOUNDER
Michael Pines is a former insurance company attorney who graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in 1987. While he was an insurance attorney, he learned from behind the scenes how insurance companies work and how they decide how much to pay injured people. Now that he works against insurance companies, Michael’s inside knowledge has resulted in significant benefits to his clients injured in car accidents. Learn more about Michael Pines