Recently there was a story about a California woman who was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), among other things. The story read like a casebook study of facts and circumstances that prosecutors dream about.
The Torrance, California lady, Sherri Wilkins, 51, was allegedly driving her vehicle while drunk. She struck a pedestrian, Phillip Moreno, 31, while he was attempting to cross a street. The accident occurred on November 24, 2012 at roughly 11:30 p.m., according to the Torrance Police Department.
Apparently, Wilkins was so intoxicated that she failed to realize she had hit someone. Not only did she not remember hitting Moreno, she failed to notice that he had been thrown up onto the hood of her car and was lying on her windshield. Wilkins’ employer said that she was a recovering addict who worked as a substance abuse counselor.
Following the impact, Wilkins continued on her journey for a couple of miles with Moreno attached to the hood of her car. Finally, witnesses and other pedestrians made her stop the vehicle so they could help the man. Emergency responders arrived to discover that Moreno was still alive and unconscious. He was transported to a nearby hospital, where he later died.
Investigating officers determined that Wilkins’ blood alcohol content (BAC) was more than twice the legal limit. In California, any person with BAC of .08 or higher is legally intoxicated and will be charged with a DUI.
Officers arrested Wilkins at the scene where she had been forced to stop, some two miles away. She was booked for DUI, vehicular manslaughter and felony hit and run.
Unfortunately for Wilkins, this isn’t her first experience with DUI. She was charged with another DUI and leaving the scene of an accident in 2010. That accident apparently only involved damage to another vehicle or property. Records show those charges were dropped in 2011.
Vehicular manslaughter is an extremely serious charge and results from driving a vehicle while intoxicated in a negligent or reckless manner and killing another human being. A couple of factors that could enhance the punishment for Wilkins are the fact that she had an extremely high BAC of more than .15, a prior DUI arrest following an accident and damage to property within ten years.
In any event, she is going to be facing as much as four years in the California state prison and fines of up to $10,000. Given the specifics of this case, it would be expected that the punishment could escalate exponentially.
Driving your car after drinking at a bar or restaurant is never a smart thing to do, if you feel the least bit tipsy. Catch a ride with a friend who is sober or call a cab. Just remember, it does not take that many drinks to cause you to have a BAC of .08 or greater.
If you, or a family member, have been arrested for suspicion of DUI, contact an experienced California criminal defense attorney who has a proven DUI track record.
Ronald N. Hoffman, at Hoffman & Associates, has been helping thousands of Los Angeles and San Diego residents just like you since 1976. Put our experience on your side to push for a dismissal, a not guilty verdict or a reduction in the charges filed against you.
Contact us through our website or call direct to (323) 655-3900 for a free initial consultation.
Arrest Made in Hit-and-Run Death, 4NBC News, Article by Robert Henry, November 26, 2012
Related Blog Posts:
Should I Act Quickly to Hire a Los Angeles DUI Attorney after my Arrest?, Los Angeles DUI Lawyer Blog, November 28, 2012
Does it Negatively Impact my Los Angeles DUI Case is my Blood Alcohol Level is Over .08%?, Los Angeles DUI Lawyer Blog, August 30, 2012