Houman Fakhimi

Santa Ana DUI Fatality Conviction has Defendant Facing 16 Years

A 24-year-old Santa Ana man could serve the next 16 years behind bars, following his conviction on a string of felonies related to a DUI crash in November 2011 that resulted in the death of a 2-year-old boy.

Santa Ana DUI Defense Lawyer Houman Fakhimi knows there is nothing more tragic than the loss of a child - for any reason. However, sentences shouldn't be dictated based upon the rawness of emotion. We are dedicated to ensuring that even those accused of crimes against and involving children are given due process.

Too often, defendants are railroaded because law enforcement and prosecutors need someone to blame. In their rush to make an arrest or secure a conviction, they may miss crucial evidence that could play in the defendant's favor.

In this case, the defendant never denied that he was intoxicated and in the vehicle that struck a mother and her two young children, killing a toddler. However, he insists it was his friend - not him - who was behind the wheel of the vehicle.

Both the defense and the prosecutors agree on the fact that the two men consumed a total of two dozen beers at a Mexican restaurant before getting into a sport utility vehicle and driving off. The driver allegedly ran a stop sign and slammed into the woman, who was carrying her daughter and holding the hand of her son, as they crossed the crosswalk at an intersection.

The woman was able to hold on to the baby, but lost the hand of her young son, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver fled.

A witness gave police a partial license plate number, which police used to track down the defendant at his home a short distance away a few hours later. He had reportedly changed his clothing and was backing out of the driveway to go to work when police arrived.

The defendant allegedly failed a number of field sobriety tests at that time, and his blood alcohol level was measured at 0.18 percent more than two hours after the crash.

Still, the fact that he was behind the wheel when police arrived does not automatically mean he was driving at the time of the crash.

The friend who had been with him was found asleep on the couch, and denied being the person who had driven.

When investigators proceeded to interview the defendant, they did not record it. What's more, the signature on the Miranda waiver form apparently didn't match the defendant's signature, according to defense attorneys.

And still, he was convicted.

In the end, it may have come down to a facial marking.

The mother of the boy who was killed told police that she noticed the driver of the vehicle had a mole on his face. The friend did not have any facial markings. The defendant did.

His charges include vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, hit and run with permanent injury or death and driving under the influence causing bodily injury. He was also convicted of a misdemeanor count of driving without a license.

If you are facing charges related to a traffic death in Orange County, please do not wait to call us.

Contact Houman Fakhimi trial attorney at (714) 705-6701 as soon as possible if you are arrested in Santa Ana.