Driver Receives Maximum Sentence For Gross Vehicular Manslaughter

Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is one of the more serious DUI manslaughter charges in California. It is always charged as a felony. In order for a prosecutor to prove a gross vehicular manslaughter charge, they must prove three things. The first is that the driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident. The second is that the driver acted with gross negligence. The third is that their actions caused the death of another individual. Gross negligence means that a person acted in a way that they knew would put others at risk. The penalty for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is 4, 6, or 10 years in prison.

The Fresno Bee reports that a man was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading no contest to charges of gross vehicular manslaughter.

28-year-old Edwin Sebastian was sentenced to six years in prison on August 1st. The sentence comes as a result of a no-contest plea that Sebastian entered on gross vehicular manslaughter charges. The charges stemmed from a December 31st, 2018 crash that killed 39-year-old Anna Rodriguez.

Rodriguez was a passenger in Sebastian’s vehicle when it blew through a stop sign and overturned. Previously, the couple had been out dancing at a night club, celebrating Sebastian’s birthday.

A friend, Natalie Bonilla, witnessed Sebastian drinking and offered them a ride home. He refused the offer and he and Rodriguez drove away.

Sebastian’s attorney Maribel Romo asked the judge for a sentence of no jail time and probation. She argued that Rodriguez admitted to being an alcoholic and sought treatment. She also advised the judge that the reason Rodriguez pleaded no contest was to spare Rodriguez’s family a lengthy criminal trial.

Fresno County Superior Court Judge Jon Kapetan agreed with the prosecution, who asked for prison time. He sentenced Sebastian to six years, the maximum sentence allowed by law given the circumstances.

The judge admitted that the law and sentencing limitations were not enough.

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