Pleading Not Guilty for DUI Crash that Killed Three

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Pleading Not Guilty for DUI Crash that Killed Three

The woman charged with murder and driving under the influence (“DUI”) has pleaded not guilty. The March 29 crash for which she is accused killed three teenagers.

DUI Crash Killed Three – Duarte Pleading Not Guilty

Bani Duarte, 27, was charged with three counts of murder and one count of driving under the influence causing injury for a March 29 crash that left three teens dead. She also faces a possible sentencing enhancement on allegations of inflicting great bodily injury.

If Duarte is convicted, she could be sentenced to 51 years to life in state prison.

Duarte was taken into custody on a $5-million warrant after investigators determined she may have been a flight risk. A hearing is set to review her bail amount.

Duarte was initially arrested after the March crash on suspicion of driving under the influence. She was also facing charges of gross vehicular manslaughter. At that time she posted $100,000 bail.

“As the investigation continued, more evidence was obtained,” authorities say. “Investigators received information the female driver was possibly intending on fleeing the country to avoid prosecution.”

Authorities allege Duarte was traveling north on PCH in a Hyundai Sonata when she rear-ended the teens’ Toyota, which was stopped at a red light at an intersection.

The impact pushed the Toyota through the intersection and into a pole, causing the car to burst into flames.

Charges for DUI – Drunk Driving

Charges for drunk driving (“DUI”) are not only serious but also can carry serious consequences at any time, but especially on Halloween when children are trick or treating throughout their neighborhoods. Penalties for DUI vary by case and severity, but following are sentencing guidelines of what you may face if you drink and drive and are then convicted of a DUI.

First Conviction for DUI

For a first conviction for a DUI in California, you would receive:

  • Jail-time of at least 96 hours but not over 6 months.
  • A fine of at least $390 but not over $1,000, including penalties.
  • Suspension of your driver’s license of six months. The court may grant your a temporary restricted license, however it can’t be reinstated until you provide proof of the completion of a “driving under the influence” state-approved program, and also showing financial responsibility.
  • Based on the circumstances of your DUI, being a first time offender you may also be required by the court to install an Ignition Interlock Device, which will be installed at your expense.

> For a second conviction for a California DUI you would receive:

  • Jail-time of at lease 90 days but not more than 1 year.
  • A fine of at least $390 but not over $1,000, including penalties.
  • Suspension of your driver’s license of 1 year. Your license cannot be reinstated until you have provided proof of financial responsibility and proof of completion of a state-approved “driving under the influence” program.
  • Based on the circumstances of your DUI, being a first time offender you may also be required by the court to install an Ignition Interlock Device, which will be installed at your expense.

For a third California conviction for DUI you would receive:

  • Jail-time of at least 120 days but not more than 1 year.
  • A fine of at least $390 but not over $1,000, including penalties.
  • The state will consider you an “habitual traffic offender” for 3 years after you’ve been convicted.
  • Suspension for 2 years of your driver’s license. Your license cannot be reinstated until you have provided proof of financial responsibility and proof of completion of a state-approved “driving under the influence” program.
  • You may be able to apply to the court for a restricted driver’s license, but you may be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device, which will be installed at your expense.

For a fourth California conviction for DUI you would receive:

  • Jail-time which may include both jail and prison or at least 180 days but not than 1 year.
  • A fine of at least $390 but not over $1,000, including penalties.
  • The state will consider you an “habitual traffic offender” for 3 years after you’ve been convicted.
  • Suspension for 3 years of your driver’s license. Your license cannot be reinstated until you have provided proof of financial responsibility and proof of completion of a state-approved “driving under the influence” program.
  • You may be able to apply to the court for a restricted driver’s license, but you may be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device, which will be installed at your expense.

When you are arrested and then convicted in California of a DUI, typically a judge will apply guidelines that determine the minimum and maximum sentencing. A judge will also take into consideration the specifics of any previous convictions you may have for DUI.

Illegal Things to Consider When Driving in California

When driving in California, you should be aware of the fact that the following points are illegal:

  • Drivers under the age of 21 are prohibited from transporting or carrying unsealed wine, liquor, or beer, in their vehicle if they are driving alone. Exceptions are if it is work-related.
  • Drivers under the age of 21 are prohibited from driving with a blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”) of 0.01 or higher.
  • Drivers under the are of 21 are prohibited from consuming any form of alcohol, including prescription drugs or cough syrup.
  • Any driver or any age is prohibited from driving with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. A BAC of 0.08 is the standard measurement all states use in order to establish whether a driver is impaired.
  • The driver of any vehicle requiring a commercial driver’s license is prohibited from driving with a BAC of 0.04 or higher.
  • A driver under the age of 18 is prohibited from driving with ANY measurable BAC.
  • Repeat offenders are prohibited from driving with a BAC of 0.01 or higher.

Although these laws are specific to California, the same DUI laws are similar in states throughout the United States.

Working with Sevens Legal, APC

If you are arrested and face a conviction for DUI, you need to work with a criminal defense lawyer such as Sevens Legal, APC. Once you have discussed the specifics of your cast with a Sevens Legal, APC, attorney they will let you know about your case’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as the punishment you may face and your risk of conviction. Your defense attorney will also be able to discuss any plea deal as well as whether it would be best to move forward to a trial, taking into consideration your best interests.

The criminal defense attorneys at Sevens Legal, APC, believe every client has a right to the best defense possible. Contact Sevens Legal, APC, today for a free consultation.

Sevens Legal, APC
Criminal Defense Attorneys
3555 4th Ave.
San Diego, CA 92103
Phone: (619) 297-2800

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