Using Effective Strategies to Fight to Win PC 191.5(a) Cases

Aaron Spolin

Award-winning 191.5(a) defense attorney Aaron Spolin has utilized successful strategies to win the freedom of many clients.

Winning a Penal Code (PC) 191.5(a) case in California requires your attorney to know the law and understand how to use the evidence to support your case. One of California’s top gross manslaughter lawyers, Aaron Spolin, explains how to win a PC 191.5(a) case: “We use three strategies: (1) creating motions to try to get the case dismissed or evidence excluded; (2) using evidence from our own investigation and the prosecutor’s file to support the case; and (3) developing strong defenses to prove our client is not guilty.” Mr. Spolin and his team have a proven track record of using these award-winning strategies successfully. (Every case is unique, and prior success is not a “guarantee” of the same outcome on a future case.)

Mr. Spolin explains how his strategies work:

  1. Creating Effective Legal “Motions”: A legal “motion” is a request to the court. Common motions we file request the court to dismiss the case entirely or exclude (suppress) evidence. These motions are based on information gathered during the discovery process and supported by law. If your Motion to Dismiss is granted, then you may be immediately released. If key evidence is excluded, then the prosecutor may not have enough information to maintain charges.
  2. Using Evidence to Support Your Case: Your criminal defense attorney will conduct an investigation to gather information about what happened. They will combine that with evidence obtained from the prosecutor during the discovery process. The facts that are gathered may be used to prove you are not guilty.
  3. Developing Strong Defenses: It is the prosecutor’s burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty. We don’t necessarily have to prove you’re innocent, but that there is enough doubt that you are not guilty. We use evidence that has been gathered to eliminate key elements of the charges and present defenses against your conviction.

These strategies have been used by the attorneys at Spolin Law, P.C. repeatedly to achieve the goals of our clients. Call Mr. Spolin and his team at (310) 424-5816 for a consultation of how they might be applied to your case.

  1. How to Win a PC 191.5(a) Case
  2. Understanding the Law: Penal Code 191.5(a)
  3. Defenses to Gross Manslaughter While Intoxicated Charges
  4. Learn About the Leading PC 191.5(a) Attorneys

Understanding the Law: Penal Code 191.5(a)

Attorneys Aaron Spolin and Don Nguyen

Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is a charge that can be overcome. The legal team at Spolin Law, P.C. knows this crime’s elements and can develop strong defenses for you.

Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is a felony charge in California. It alleges that a motorist caused an accident in which another person was killed while that motorist was under the influence of alcohol or drugs and driving with gross negligence.

This crime requires a separate “grossly negligent act” that does not include the DUI. The act must be a misdemeanor, an infraction, or an otherwise lawful act that could cause death.

Malice aforethought is not required to be found guilty of PC 191.5(a). Malice aforethought is the intent element needed for first- or second-degree murder.

Examples of PC 191.5(a)

Some examples of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated may include the following situations:

  • A man is driving a vehicle while he has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or greater. He speeds through a red light to avoid getting stopped by it and hits and kills a pedestrian.
  • A woman consumes cocaine and gets behind the wheel, thus committing a California DUI while intoxicated by drugs. She drives over the speed limit and hits another car, killing the driver.

In both of these situations, the intoxicated drivers operated their vehicles while under the influence and acted with gross negligence (speeding). Their actions resulted in the death of another individual; however, they did not have malice aforethought or intent to kill those people.

Penalties for PC 191.5(a)

As a felony, a conviction under PC 191.5(a) can have serious consequences. You may face four, six, or 10 years in state prison. You will also face felony (formal) probation and a fine of up to $10,000.

Your driver’s license will also be suspended if you are convicted of California gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

Felons in California may also find it difficult to find jobs and safe places to live. You may lose your gun rights and other freedoms as well.

By utilizing the strategies discussed earlier, Mr. Spolin and his team at Spolin Law, P.C. will fight to protect your rights and try to help you avoid the harshest penalties. Call us at (310) 424-5816.

  1. How to Win a PC 191.5(a) Case
  2. Understanding the Law: Penal Code 191.5(a)
  3. Defenses to Gross Manslaughter While Intoxicated Charges
  4. Learn About the Leading PC 191.5(a) Attorneys

Defenses to Gross Manslaughter While Intoxicated Charges

A manslaughter conviction can impact your entire life. That’s why it’s important to work with a California gross manslaughter while intoxicated attorney who will develop strong defenses for you.

Some legal defenses that Spolin Law, P.C. may use to support your case include the following:

You Were Not Intoxicated

Typical California DUI defenses, such as challenging your intoxication when the accident occurred, can be successful in a PC 191.5(a) case.

Your attorney can attack the prosecutor’s evidence that you were intoxicated. You may have appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, when in reality you were having a medical incident, you were tired, ill, or the shock of the accident mimicked similar symptoms.

You can also challenge the validity of any blood or breath tests that were run on you. Some officers conduct a roadside breathalyzer that is known to be inaccurate. Even blood tests must be conducted under specific circumstances to make them valid and usable as evidence in court.

The police officers responding to the scene likely conducted an investigation to determine if you were intoxicated. Your attorney can scrutinize that investigation and attempt to uncover any police misconduct or unlawful actions that contributed to an invalid investigation of your intoxication.

There Was No Gross Negligence

PC 191.5(a) requires a separate act of gross negligence that does not include driving while intoxicated. That act must be a misdemeanor, infraction, or other lawful action that can result in death. However, determining whether an act was actually grossly negligent may be debatable.

Your attorney may be able to successfully argue that your behavior was simply negligent – not grossly negligent. This may reduce your penalties and allow you to be charged with a different, lesser crime – often PC 191.5(b), which is California’s ordinary vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated law.

Your Actions Didn’t Cause the Victim’s Death

Determining exactly what caused the victim’s death in an auto accident can be complex. Even if you were driving while intoxicated and there was an element of gross negligence, the prosecution may not be able to prove that your negligence directly caused the victim’s death.

For example, if you hit the rear end of another vehicle and that person was following someone else too closely and rams into them, causing their death, then it may be argued that you did not cause the ultimate death. There are many intervening factors that can be pointed to when determining the cause of someone’s death in an auto accident.

An Emergency Caused You to Act Reasonably Under the Circumstances

PC 191.5(a) states that you must act with the same judgment as an ordinarily careful person would use in the same situation. Thus, if you are faced with an emergency and act accordingly, and there is an accident, your actions may not be considered grossly negligent.

For example, if you were driving along a foggy highway after a night out with friends and one of your headlights goes out, you might be forced to drive below the speed limit. If someone hits you from behind and they die, your actions may have been justified by your emergency situation – regardless of whether or not you were tipsy.

To learn which of these defenses might apply to your case, contact Spolin Law, P.C. at (310) 424-5816. Our team of criminal defense lawyers will work to develop the strongest possible defenses in your case.

Other Charges Related to PC 191.5(a)

Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is closely related to several other crimes in California. Under certain circumstances, it may be possible for these charges to be combined or replace PC 191.5(a). Those crimes include:

  • Penal Code 191.5(b) Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated
  • Penal Code 192(c) Vehicular Manslaughter/Gross Vehicular Manslaughter
  • DUI Murder/Watson Murder
  1. How to Win a PC 191.5(a) Case
  2. Understanding the Law: Penal Code 191.5(a)
  3. Defenses to Gross Manslaughter While Intoxicated Charges
  4. Learn About the Leading PC 191.5(a) Attorneys

Learn About the Leading PC 191.5(a) Attorneys

Attorneys Don Nguyen, Aaron Spolin, and Jeremy Cutcher

The PC 191.5(a) defense attorneys at Spolin Law, P.C. know the law, understand how the prosecutor thinks, and know how to win cases. Call today at (310) 424-5816.

Gross manslaughter charges under California Penal Code 191.5(a) are very serious and can result in incarceration, fines, and loss of your freedoms.

Spolin Law, P.C.’s major crimes attorneys have a record of successful outcomes. We win cases because:

  • We know the law. California laws can be complex, with many related charges to consider. It’s important that your attorney knows all of the elements of what you are being charged with so that they can develop strong defenses that show your actions do not rise to the elements of the crime.
  • We know how prosecutor’s think. As a former prosecutor, Mr. Spolin understands how the state will put together a case. He and his team at Spolin Law, P.C. will work to pinpoint the prosecutor’s arguments and poke holes to create reasonable doubt.
  • We know how to win. Spolin Law, P.C. has a record of success. We sit down with every client and learn their story. We treat them with respect and work towards a mutual goal to help them retain their freedom.

If you have questions about your case, contact the legal team at Spolin Law, P.C. at (310) 424-5816. We are here to answer your questions and begin working on your case right away.