DUI murder is not a separate criminal charge. It is a second-degree murder charge under California Penal Code 187. In essence, it indicates that the accused person did not mean to kill the other person. However, the charge means that the person acted with a conscious disregard for the safety of other people. Typically, DUI murder is only charged when the person has a previous DUI conviction. Most offenders are warned when convicted of a DUI that they may be charged with murder if they drink and drive again and kill someone. They also have to attend DUI school, where they are again warned of the dangers of drinking and driving.
NBC Los Angeles reports that a man has been convicted of murder in a Westminster crash that killed his passenger.
31-year-old Jonathan Aaron Samoff was found guilty of second-degree murder on Thursday. The jury deliberated for about 4.5 hours before returning the verdict.
The charges stem from a March 8, 2014 crash that killed 25-year-old Isaias Tang.
Previously, a jury deadlocked 11-1 in June in favor of a guilty verdict.
On November 9, 2009, Samoff pleaded guilty to drunk driving in Los Angeles County. Once convicted, he was warned that if he drove drunk again and killed someone, he would face an upgrade in charges from vehicular manslaughter to second-degree murder.
Samoff was also ordered to enroll in a three-month first offender program for drunk drivers. He was also ordered to attend a 12-step program.
On March 7, 2014 he was kicked out of a sober living facility for violating rules. He befriended Tang while living at the facility.
At around 2:54 a.m. on March 8th, police were called to the scene of an accident where a Toyota Camry was found crashed into a wall. Samoff had pulled Tang from the wreckage and left to die.
Just before 5 a.m., Samoff’s blood-alcohol level was 0.11. His DNA was found on the driver’s side airbag. Samoff fled the state following the crash and was arrested in October 2014 in Nebraska.