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DUI charges likely following head-on fatal Placer County crash

The California Highway Patrol has suggested that drunk driving was behind a fatal three vehicle collision that took place in Placer County recently. Though details of the crash are scarce, it is known that the collision occurred shortly before 6:20 a.m. on Sierra College Boulevard, not far from the city of Lincoln. Two minivans and a pickup truck were involved, and one of the minivan drivers is potentially facing DUI charges and perhaps additional criminal counts.

The accident got its start when a northbound minivan swerved into oncoming traffic and collided directly with a southbound minivan operated by a 53-year-old man from Live Oak. He was killed instantly. A pickup that was trailing behind the southbound vehicle was also struck, though that driver apparently escaped injury. The driver said to have caused the collision, a 43-year-old Lincoln man, was severely injured and transported to a hospital for treatment. There was no further word on his medical condition or the specific nature of the injuries sustained.

Assuming that driver survives his injuries, he will likely face a multitude of legal problems. First, preliminary reports suggest that authorities will arrest the driver regarding DUI related charges, perhaps including vehicular homicide. Under any circumstances, those are serious accusations that require careful preparation and the presentation of a meaningful criminal defense. The driver may also have to answer a separate civil claim for wrongful death by the estate of the deceased victim.

With respect to the potential dui charges and any related accusations, the severe consequences that a conviction could bring mandate that the man's legal rights are fully protected from the first possible moment, even before the filing of any anticipated charges. Like any other individual accused of a crime in California, the injured driver is fully entitled to the presumption of innocence in addressing any criminal accusations made against him. Nevertheless, with the probability of a prison sentence looming on the horizon should a conviction be obtained, the focus must necessarily shift to planning a criminal defense that puts the prosecution to its proof while fighting for the best possible result.

Source: The Sacramento Bee, "Lincoln man arrested for suspected drunken driving in fatal crash," Nov. 15, 2012

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