The Los Angeles DUI Law Blog

Slap on the Wrist for Riverside Teen's Fatal DUI Street Race?

Back in March, Jesus Javier Gamez was behind the wheel of a 1995 Ford Mustang. As many young and dumb drivers tend to do, he was pushing the limits of the vehicle. To make matters worse, he was racing another car on a surface street. His speeds reached 120 mph before he lost control of the vehicle, collided with a parked car and a light pole, and killed his passenger, Ruben Terriquez, 18, of Riverside, reports the Press-Enterprise.

Did we mention that he was under the influence as well? You’d think charges of driving under the influence and felony gross vehicular manslaughter would lead to a lengthy sentence.

Apparently not.

Gamez pled guilty to the charges earlier this week. As part of that plea, he was sentenced to one year in jail for killing his passenger, five years of probation, ordered to pay $14,681 in restitution to the victim's family, and he'll be required to make multiple speeches at local high schools about drunk driving. He also waived his credit for 229 days served since his arrest, which effectively increases his sentence by another 0.63 years.

One point six three years for manslaughter. That sounds fair. Note that gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated can result in a sentence of four to ten years, according to the statute. In fact, his behavior is exactly the type of behavior envisioned by the statute. He was driving drunk and committing an independent grossly negligent act (street racing). Under the statute, the minimum punishment should have been four years.

Even if we take into account good behavior, which would have increased the credit for his time served to probably more than a year, and his overall sentence to two years, he's still seems to be getting a sweetheart deal.

Related Resources: