Thursday, October 9, 2008

California drunk driving DMV DUI Lawyers re: Watson Murder charged in 3rd DUI

San Diego DUI criminal defense lawyers at report that a Phelan man is charged with murder for an alcohol-related crash that led to the death of his girlfriend and injured three others, prosecutors said Thursday.

It was his third arrest for driving under the influence since 2006, San Diego California DUI criminal defense lawyers said.

Edward Tilden Roth, 61, now faces life in prison for the murder of Irene Rosemary Young, his girlfriend and a passenger in his car when he allegedly caused a two-vehicle crash two weeks ago in Phelan, San Diego California DUI criminal defense lawyers said.

Three people were injured in the other car involved, including an 11-month-old girl, San Diego California DUI criminal defense lawyers said.

After the collision, Young was airlifted to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, San Diego California DUI criminal defense lawyers said.

Roth was arraigned for DUI causing injury on Sept. 30, and his bail was set at $50,000.

The next day, Young died from her injuries. As a result, the DA filed a “Watson murder” charge, which allows a DUI defendant who caused a death to be charged with murder under certain circumstances.

Roth was arraigned again on Tuesday on the murder charge and his bail was raised to $2 million.

Roth pleaded no contest to a DUI charge in September 2006 and pleaded guilty to another DUI charge in April 2007, according to San Diego California DUI criminal defense lawyers.

San Diego California DUI criminal defense lawyers said Roth is also charged with gross vehicular manslaughter, and although he can be convicted of both, he can only be sentenced for the more serious charge. Both charges carry a sentence of 15 years to life in prison.

“It carries potential consequence in the state prison system,” San Diego California DUI criminal defense lawyers said of the murder charge.

San Diego California DUI criminal defense lawyers are told that the collision occurred around 6 p.m. Sept. 26 at the intersection of Nevada and Phelan roads.

The California Superior Court allows the prosecution of cases that have become known as a “Watson Murder.” This can be charged when a person does “an act, the natural consequences of which are dangerous to life, which was deliberately performed by a person who knows that his conduct endangers the life of another and who acts with conscious disregard for life.”

Watson murders are usually charged only in the most extreme circumstances, for example when a repeat DUI offender was heavily intoxicated and driving very recklessly. The prosecutor must show that the driver had a special knowledge or appreciation of the dangers of drunk driving. For this, the district attorney usually points to the fact that the defendant suffered a prior DUI conviction, and attended an alcohol awareness class.

A person convicted of DUI murder is sentenced to prison for 15 years to life.

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