Houman Fakhimi

Disneyland-area Fatal Accident Leads to DUI Arrest in Anaheim

A passenger in a vehicle driven by a woman arrested on suspicion of DUI died recently in a local hospital, The Orange County Register reports.

This will likely lead to more serious charges against the driver, setting up the possibility that she be sentenced to years in prison, if she is convicted. DUI charges in Irvine and throughout California are serious and bring with them some of the toughest penalties on the books for misdemeanors in California. When an accident is involved, felony charges often result. That's why fighting them is critical and must be countered with an aggressive Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney.

According to the news story, an accident happened recently on the southbound I-5 freeway near Disneyland Drive in Anaheim. The male passenger died about four hours after the accident at UCI Medical Center.

The female driver was arrested on suspicion of felony driving under the influence and was being treated at the hospital with major injuries. Passengers in a car they hit were treated for minor injuries.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the driver of the pickup was driving in the third lane at a "high rate of speed" when the driver allegedly changed lanes to the four lane and struck the left rear corner of the car. The truck skidded off the main lanes and traveled out of control onto a steep dirk embankment. The truck struck a bridge and rotated several times before coming to rest in the first lane, the CHP report states.

According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles , there were more than 208,000 DUI arrests statewide in 2009, the most recent statistics available. But arrests were actually down from 215,000 in 2008.

The majority of the arrests for DUI were misdemeanor arrests -- 202,954. That leaves 5,577 felony DUI arrests. The agency reports that 41 percent of cases where a person dies in an accident, alcohol is involved. One percent of the cases involved drug use. Of the arrests, 132,709 arrests were first-time offenders.

While this is one of the least sophisticated crimes a person can commit -- and therefore easily the most common charge law enforcement officers make -- they also carry some of the steepest penalties for even a misdemeanor offense and first-time defendant.

Consider the penalties for a first-time offender charged with DUI:

  • Up to six months in jail
  • Up to a $1,000 fine
  • A six-month driver's license suspension
  • Completion of DUI school
  • Possible installation of an ignition interlock device

While charged as a misdemeanor, it carries all these possible penalties.

That's why taking an aggressive approach to the charge is necessary. Facing this charge can result in job loss, loss of reputation in the community and cause problems at home. There is also a huge financial burden put on a person who is convicted.

Contact an Orange County criminal defense attorney at (714) 705-6701 as soon as possible if you are charged with a crime. Protecting your rights and setting up an aggressive defense at the beginning stages is critical in defending against criminal charges.