Wednesday, February 27, 2008

15 years to life to California DUI Death/Second-degree Murder

California DUI attorney news

California DUI man with three prior California DUI drunk driving convictions was found guilty Tuesday afternoon of second-degree murder in the death of an Arvin woman.

A California DUI jury in Kern County Superior Court also found Esteban Demecio Hernandez guilty of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, with prior convictions; California DUI causing bodily injury; and driving with a suspended license.

According to evidence presented in California DUI court, Hernandez had a blood alcohol level of 0.24 — three times the legal limit — when the head-on crash occurred in March 2007, said a California DUI Attorney.

Accident reconstruction experts determined that Hernandez’s Mazda drifted nine feet into the southbound lane of Comanche Drive, less than a mile north of Sunset Boulevard at 8:44 p.m., colliding with a 1989 Honda driven by 40-year-old Reynalda Bazaldua.

Bazaldua was killed and her daughters, Brenda Hernandez, now 13, and Natalie Patino, now 6, received minor injuries.

All four of the people involved in the California DUI crash were wearing seat belts, according to the CHP.

Esteban Hernandez had completed an 18-month drinking-and-driving program as a condition of his probation following three prior DUI convictions, California DUI attorney prosecutors said.

“The jury reached a proper verdict,” California DUI attorney prosecutors believe. “The theory on the second-degree murder charge was not specifically that he intended to kill someone that night, but that he acted with implied malice.”

In other words, Hernandez’s priors and his completion of an anti-drunken driving course means that he was fully aware of the possible deadly consequences of his actions.

The jury deliberated about 31⁄2 hours before reaching its verdict.

Mary Flores, Bazaldua’s sister-in-law and the aunt of the girls, said “nobody wins” in a case like this.

She said she was angry when she learned that Hernandez had three chances to change, to alter his behavior — and chose not to do so.

“I just want the girls to know what they feel in their heart for their mother will always be there,” she said. “We will never forget Reyna.”

Hernandez faces a minimum prison sentence of 15 years to life, California DUI lawyers say.

California DUI sentencing is scheduled for March 25.