Thursday, September 6, 2007

Murder DUI after prior DUI acknowledging such charge if death

California DUI criminal defense lawyer news

A 28-year-old California man was ordered Wednesday to stand trial on murder charges after a violent crash on Friant Road earlier this year that killed two people.

Police say Jose Luis Orozco's blood-alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit when he veered into oncoming traffic near the Copper River Country Club in July.

Fresno County Superior Court Judge Edward Sarkisian Jr. ruled there was sufficient evidence to put Orozco on trial after a short preliminary hearing that featured one witness -- California Highway Patrol officer Ty Blasingame.

According to the CHP, on July 8, Orozco drove a 2003 Chevrolet pickup into opposing traffic and hit a Honda Civic occupied by Ying Her, 22, of Arkansas and Chu Yang, 16, of Fresno, who both died in the crash, and 23-year-old Hue Yang of Fresno.

Orozco's pickup then hit a Ford van head-on, the CHP reported. Both the Honda and Ford overturned and came to rest along the roadside.

Orozco was arrested a short time later and booked into Fresno County Jail, where he is being held.

California Criminal Defense attorney Carl Faller on Wednesday said the two murder charges are excessive because there was no evidence of malice.

Prosecutor Jon Skiles, however, told Sarkisian that four months before the fatal accident, Orozco pleaded guilty to driving under the influence. At that time, he initialed a document that said if he was again arrested on a DUI charge, and if it involved a death, he could be charged with murder.

After the July accident, a blood sample taken from Orozco measured a blood-alcohol level of 0.25. A level of 0.08 is considered legally drunk in California.

Orozco also faces charges of gross vehicular manslaughter and felony DUI / driving under the influence with injuries.

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