Houman Fakhimi

Los Angeles DUI Arrest Exacerbated by Fleeing

A 29-year-old man will spend at least the next 33 years of his life in prison, following a felony DUI charges in Los Angeles stemming from an accident that resulted in the deaths of a husband and wife.

As Los Angeles DUI trial attorney Houman Fakhimi understands it, it was New Year's Eve 2010, and the man had reportedly been drinking and was trying to flee from police.

The couple, parents to five children between the ages of 17 and 28, were struck and killed when the driver was reportedly attempting to evade police at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. According to investigators, he ran a red light near Crenshaw Boulevard and Florence Avenue shortly before midnight. The impact of the collision caused the couple's car to flip over. They were pronounced dead at the scene. They were reportedly returning home from a party.

The suspect then reportedly fled the scene on foot without stopping to help the couple.

When the suspect was arrested, investigators said his blood alcohol level tested at .21 percent - well above the .08 limit. Investigators said he later admitted he had drank about six beers that night, and he also had a bottle of vodka stashed in his vehicle.

It's not clear from media reports why the police were initially after him or why he felt the need to flee. Records indicate he did have a prior conviction for an earlier DUI. Regardless, this case brings up some points for an experienced L.A. DUI defense attorney:

-It usually never pays to flee from police. It is almost never going to help your case, and you are likely to end up with additional charges, such as fleeing and eluding and resisting arrest.

-Depending on the circumstances of the case, you could be charged with either a felony or misdemeanor, defined under California Vehicle Code 2800.1 VC. In order to prove this charge, prosecutors need to show that you willfully fled and that you did so from a clearly marked officer that you reasonably saw and recognized.

-There are tactics that a skilled attorney can employ to fight a fleeing and eluding charge, but it's going to be tougher if that act resulted in the serious injury or death of another.

-Your best course of action if you are pulled over - even if it is while you have been drinking - is to stop and cooperate with police. That doesn't mean you answer their questions or submit to field sobriety tests. What it means is that you don't run, you are polite and that you refer all questions to your attorney - whom you must call at the first available opportunity.

In this case, one might surmise that the individual was concerned about the consequences of a second DUI. But there is a big difference between what he would have faced had he stopped, and the decades he is now likely to serve. Under California law, a second DUI conviction is going to result in a maximum 1 year in jail, $2,800 in fines, 2 years of a license suspension and the installation of an interlock ignition device. And all of that is the maximum - it is likely if you acquire an experienced attorney at the outset, you could receive much lesser sanctions.

Contact Houman Fakhimi trial attorney at (714) 705-6701 as soon as possible if you are facing a felony charge in Los Angeles. Protecting your rights and setting up an aggressive defense at the beginning stages is critical in defending against criminal charges.