Under California law, a DUI murder is not a separate charge, but rather a second-degree murder charged under California Penal Code 187. Second-degree murder means that a person did not intend to kill another, but that person’s behavior implied a conscious disregard for the life of others. If convicted, the penalties for DUI murder will depend on how many people were affected by the accident. The minimum penalties are 15 years to life in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000. If more than one person loses their life, additional counts of murder may be added, with additional prison time for each one.
NBC Los Angeles reports on a woman who has pleaded not guilty to a DUI murder charge.
36-year-old Mary Noel Kruppe is still being held in lieu of $2 million bail on a murder charge. On Monday, Kruppe pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.
The charges stem from a November 15th crash that killed 29-year-old Lancaster resident Jessica Ordaz. Kruppe as behind the wheel of a 2014 Jeep Wrangler that was heading south on 50th East Street. She veered into oncoming traffic sometime around 6:50 p.m.
Kruppe collided head-on with a 2010 Mazda being driven by Ordaz, who was pronounced deceased on scene. Kruppe, who is a school principal at Enterprise Elementary, was also treated for moderate injuries.
She is due back in court on June 3rd, where a preliminary hearing date is expected to be set. The hearing will determine if there is enough evidence to go to trial.