Published on December 23rd, 2013 | by Daniel R. Perlman0
DUI Hit-and-Run, Vehicular Manslaughter and Murder in California
…occupants of the car that was hit dies from injuries
Being charged with vehicular manslaughter is a very serious offense in California. These cases usually involve collisions in which occupants of the car that was hit dies from injuries related to the crash. Conviction of this offense may also occur if a passenger in the vehicle at fault in the crash dies as a result of the driver’s negligent conduct. The key issues that the prosecution must prove who was driving the vehicle at the time the accident occurred and whether their actions were considered criminally negligent. A driver with a blood-alcohol level (BAC) above the legal limit will face increased penalties, such as a charge of murder.
DUI Hit-and-Run Victim Dies, Suspect Charged with Murder
Mallory Rae Dies, a 27-year-old woman, was the victim of a DUI hit-and-run collision in downtown Santa Barbara. Dies suffered severe head trauma in the accident, and was on life support for much of her hospital stay. She was declared dead at Cottage Hospital Santa Barbara.
The defendant, 32 year-old Raymond Morua, has been charged with murder, vehicular manslaughter, and fleeing the scene of a crime. He was held without bail in Santa Barbara jail. The defendant appeared in court in early December for an arraignment on his original hit-and-run charges, but his attorney, Sam Eaton, successfully petitioned Judge Thomas Adams to delay the hearing. Eaton has declined requests for interviews.
Charges for Second-degree Murder in fatal DUI
Prosecutor Arnie Tolks explained it is common for defendants in fatal DUI incidents to be prosecuted for second degree murder. Second-degree murder is defined by “malice aforethought”. Malice aforethought can include gross negligence and reckless behavior with no regard for human life. In such cases, a defendant’s history as it relates to driving under the influence plays a factor in their prosecution.
As The Santa Barbara Independent reported, Moura has a criminal record that includes two prior DUI convictions as well as a previous hit-and-run conviction.
He also served time in County Jail for grand theft by embezzlement after he and a co-worker were caught re-using redeemed coupons at Kmart. Morua had been a district representative for Congresswoman Lois Capps since 2011 until he was fired on December 15, 2013. According to Capps’s representatives, the office did not routinely conduct criminal background checks as part of its hiring practices, but is currently re-examining its vetting procedures.
Daniel R. Perlman
The Law Offices of Daniel R. Perlman