A DUI that doesn’t culminate in an accident may have a set amount of jail time as punishment, but if an accident is involved, there could be serious charges. The severity of the charges would depend on the circumstances of the accident and the criminal history of the driver. If the driver has previous DUI convictions, they can face felony charges. If a person is killed, the driver may face either vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated charges, charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, or second-degree murder charges.
The prosecutor will bring vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated charges against the driver if they believe there was no negligence involved. Gross vehicular manslaughter charges are brought when the prosecutor believes that the driver acted with gross negligence. Gross vehicular manslaughter is always a felony whereas vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated can be charged as a misdemeanor.
The Mercury News reports that a San Jose motorist was killed in a suspected DUI crash, and the driver will likely be arrested.
The crash occurred at about 12:15 a.m. on Sunday at the intersection of Almaden Expressway and Branham Lane.
The initial investigation found that a 32-year old male was driving a 2006 Nissan Murano northbound on Almaden. The driver entered the intersection against the red light and plowed into a 2004 Hyundai Tiburon that was heading westbound on Branham.
The force of the collision sent the Hyundai into a 2019 Tesla that was stopped at the traffic light.
The driver of the Hyundai, whose name was not released, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Nissan suffered from non-life-threatening injuries. Once he has been medically cleared, he is expected to be booked into Santa Clara Jail and will face charges of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and other DUI charges.
The driver of the Tesla was not injured in the crash.