Once convicted of a DUI in California, there is a good chance that the driver will be placed on probation and/or must attend DUI school. During this time period, the driver is told that if they drink and drive and it leads to someone else’s death, they may be charged with murder. Usually, they must sign a document called a Watson advisement to acknowledge that they are aware of this fact. This is the primary way that a person can be charged with DUI murder, which is a second-degree murder charge. The penalties for second-degree murder include 15 years to life in a state prison, up to a $10,000 fine, and felony offender status.
My News LA reports that the California Supreme court has decided not to review the case of a man convicted of murder in a deadly DUI crash.
Michael Walsh is serving a 21-years-to-life sentence in state prison. The charges stem from a Valentine’s Day 2017 crash that killed 48-year-old Ross Diaz and seriously injured another motorist.
Walsh was convicted of second-degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence of alcohol causing great bodily injury within 10 years of another DUI offense, and driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher causing injury within 10 years of another DUI offense.
In July, California’s 2nd District Court of Appeals upheld the verdict. They found that there was significant evidence that demonstrated that Walsh was responsible for the deadly collision. The justices noted that the prosecution provided evidence of five prior DUI convictions beginning in 1989. He had also participated in DUI programs that warned about the dangers of drinking and driving.
On Wednesday, the California Supreme Court declined to review the case, upholding the verdict and the decision by the Court of Appeals.