Saturday, February 16, 2008

Murder DUI vs. no Murder DUI in California - 2 cases

California DUI attorney news - issue of murder in California DUI cases:

A Fellows woman is being sought on murder charges in connection with an alleged drunk driving accident that killed a McKittrick man last summer.

A felony warrant charging Donna Brinkman, 43, with second degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter, felony drunk driving and driving on a suspended license, was issued on Feb. 6.

Law enforcement officers have been unable to locate her to serve the warrant, Kern County Sheriff's Sgt. Martin Downs said.

Brinkman was arrested at the scene of the July 28 crash on Highway 33 in McKittrick that fatally injured Robert Morrison, 76.

Morrison was struck by Brinkman's vehicle while walking across Highway 33 near D Street, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Kern County Court records show that Brinkman had a prior conviction for drunk driving just one month before the fatal accident.

Brinkman was sentenced on June 26 to two days in jail, fined $15,084 and placed on probation for three years, court records show.

In contrast, California DUI lawyers:

A woman accused of driving drunk and causing a crash that killed her two passengers in Palm Desert last February will not be charged with murder, prosecutors said Friday.

Tiffany Marie Campbell, 23, of Cathedral City, has already been ordered to stand trial for DUI and gross vehicular manslaughter.

The Riverside County District Attorney's Office earlier announced it was considering adding the murder charges, but prosecutors said today there was "insufficient evidence."

"After reviewing all of the evidence and the totality of circumstances surrounding this incident, we determined to have insufficient evidence to warrant murder charges in this case," said D.A. spokesman Michael Jeandron.

If convicted of the other charges, Campbell could be sentenced to up to 12 years in prison.

Campbell, who re-entered not guilty pleas at a pre-trial arraignment Friday, allegedly had a blood-alcohol level of .18, more than twice the legal limit, when her Volkswagen Jetta crashed into the back of a tractor-trailer on Highway 111 at Town Center Way about 2:15 a.m. last Feb. 26.

Her two passengers, Brian Murray, 23, of Palm Desert, and Kelli Luna, 22, of Cathedral City, died at the scene.

Campbell, who suffered moderate injuries in the crash, was being prepped for transport to Desert Regional Medical Center when paramedics smelled a "strong odor of alcohol on her breath," according to the declaration in support of the warrant.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Randall D. White scheduled a trial-readiness conference for March 14, but her public defender, David Prendergast, said he did not expect the to begin until early summer.