Typically, a DUI in California is charged as a misdemeanor. There are certain situations in which a DUI can be charged as a felony. The first way is that if it is a person’s fourth DUI charge within 10 years of the three previous charges, it can be charged as a felony. The second way that a DUI can be upgraded to a felony is if there are people who are seriously injured. This will usually include a charge of DUI causing serious injury. The final way that a DUI can be charged as a felony is if there are people killed in a DUI accident.
The Californian reports on a woman facing multiple charges in a fatal DUI accident.
27-year-old Hilda Beatriz Valencia Flores appeared in court on Tuesday morning and pleaded not guilty to multiple charges. The charges include three felony counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, a count of felony DUI, and possession of an injecting device.
The charges stem from a crash on Friday, May 31st. The crash occurred at about 5:54 a.m. as Valencia Flores drove a Chevrolet Malibu the wrong way on San Miguel Canyon Road. She collided head-on with a vehicle traveling northbound.
Inside the vehicle was 49-year-old Blanca Estela Rangel, 58-year-old Manuela Marta Torres, and 43-year-old Maria Teresa Rangel. They all died at the scene. The driver of their vehicle, 19-year-old Anai Juarez Rangel, suffered from major injuries.
Valencia Flores also suffered from major injuries and was transported to a hospital for treatment. After she was released, she was arrested on suspicion of DUI.
At the time of her arrest, bail was set at $1.05 million, which was lowered to $860,000.