A charge of DUI involving injury in California can be charged either as a misdemeanor or a felony. The charge does not only involve being intoxicated. It also requires the driver to break another of California’s traffic laws and caused injury to another person. This person can be a passenger in the driver’s vehicle or an occupant of the other vehicle. Whether the charge is pursued as a felony or a misdemeanor depends upon the severity of the injuries. Minor injuries may only result in a misdemeanor charge. However, if the injuries are serious, they could be charged as a felony. California defines serious injuries as broken bones, disfigurement, head injuries, spinal injuries, and injuries to internal organs among other injuries.
The Press-Enterprise reports that a woman has received an 8-year sentence for a fatal DUI crash that killed a mother and seriously injured her young child.
20-year-old Grace Christine Whitman was sentenced on Monday to nearly eight years in prison for her involvement in a fatal 2018 accident. The accident fatally injured 28-year-old Cynthia Michele Pacheco and seriously injured her 5-year-old son Josiah Rodriguez.
On June 4, 2018, Whitman was driving a 2016 Subaru Impreza westbound on Schleisman Road at about 5 p.m. She drove through a red light at the intersection of Scholar Way. Pacheco was driving her 2005 Toyota Corolla south through the intersection.
Whitman T-boned Pacheco’s vehicle then got out of the vehicle and sat on a curb. She admitted to police that she was the driver of the Subaru. Pacheco was taken to Riverside Hospital where she succumbed to his injuries four days later. The 5-year-old nearly had his leg severed and suffered from a traumatic head injury.
Whitman was not injured. At the time of the accident, her blood-alcohol content registered at .14%, nearly twice the legal limit. Bloodwork revealed the presence of marijuana and an anti-anxiety medication.
Pacheco’s family openly stated that they did not believe the 8-year sentence was sufficient punishment.