Fresno Criminal Defense, DUI's, Murder, and Manslaughter | Fresno Criminal Defense Attorney
Fresno Criminal Defense Attorney Jonathan Eaton Rooker has noticed the media attention that has been garnered by two local DUI fatality incidents that have been consuming the public's attention as of late. With the high profile trial of Perla Vasquez who is accused of murder due to having had prior DUI's and causing an accident where a fatality occurred, I have noticed emotionally charged editorials, facebook posts, and articles on the subject of murder and DUI's.
The common expression of sentiment on the subject seems to be that people who have prior DUI's and a person dies due to their negligent driving, while having any alcohol in their system should be convicted of murder. This perception is furthered by unrelated deaths that have occurred involving people alleged to have been under the influence while driving.
In Mendota on Sunday there was a deadly crash reported. It is alleged that Rien Ban caused an accident that killed four people. He is charged with four counts of gross vehicular manslaughter. However, many of the editorials seem to believe he should be charged with murder, based on prior DUI's. The District Attorney's office has release that the Blood-Alcohol content of Mr. Ban was .15, nearly twice the legal limit.
Perla Vasquez is in trial for a DUI related accident that claimed the life of a fellow motorist in the Clovis/Fresno area. The general public has been very vocal about their belief that murder charges are appropriate. However, many members of the general public do not know the difference between murder, manslaughter, and various other related charges that could be filed in regard to such incidents.
Drivers, like most people, understand that it is dangerous to drive while impaired. People understand that driving while impaired is dangerous to human life. But, many activities are dangerous to human life. It doesn't necessarily amount to murder based on priors. There are other elements that need to be met before murder should attach. However, there are arguments that prosecutors make, applying the specific facts of an incident to the elements of murder, which can be successful. Unfortunately, the general public rarely receives the information needed to make that determination from newspaper articles. This leads to a mass hysteria, or lynch mob type of environment that feeds off of the emotions and decides whatever is the worst thing that could be done to the alleged offender should occur without trial, defense, counsel, or hope.
The media is a formidable tool and adversary depending on how they are dealt with. It is possible for counsel to defend in the media, or help try to lessen the impact of negative articles by countering them in the media. Just another reason anyone charged with such an allegation should seriously consider hiring private counsel.