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San Mateo DUI Case Leads to Manslaughter Charge

Posted on in DUI

A driver suspected of a DUI (driving under the influence) may now face a felony vehicular manslaughter charge in San Mateo County. The criminal defendant is accused of driving into an 84-year old woman, while backing out of a Walgreens drive thru.

A DUI may amount to manslaughter if a person died as a result of the drunk driving. On a second or subsequent allegation of DUI, the defendant may be charged with murder if the driving resulted in the death of another person.

On November 14, 2014 the 21 year old defendant was making her way through a local Walgreens drive-thru, when she decided to back her vehicle out. As a result she ran into a pedestrian, 84 year old Nina Falk. The victim later succumbed to her injuries and passed away at a local trauma center. The defendant immediately fled the scene but was later discovered by police. She was arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and-run and felony DUI. The District Attorney is expected to amend the charge to include vehicular manslaughter in the wake of the victim's death.

Vehicular manslaughter committed while intoxicated is defined as the unlawful killing of another person while driving intoxicated with or without gross negligence. If the crime is committed with gross negligence the charge is a felony and carriers a prison term range of four, six or ten years. If the defendant has a prior conviction for DUI and someone is killed as a result of a subsequent drunk driving, the prosecutor may charge that defendant with murder. This is sometimes referred to as a “Watson Murder,” and as prosecuted as first degree murder (Penal Code section 187).

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