Sometimes, there really is no defense. We’re not even talking realistic or even likely to succeed defenses either. For Isidro Peralta, 26, it doesn’t seem like there was any defense that an attorney could come up with and sell to a jury with a straight face. As a result, his plea deal (term used loosely) ended with a sixteen year sentence, reports the Los Angeles Daily News.
Back in April, 2011, Peralta allegedly collided with a pedestrian, 50-year-old Curly Junior Ross, and took off before turning the corner and driving right into a DUI checkpoint. The officers first heard the sound of tire squeal from the collision, then saw Peralta’s heavily damaged Mustang turn the corner. According to a press release from the Sheriff’s Department, the officers gave chase when he used the opposite side of the road to avoid the checkpoint.
After stopping the vehicle, they noticed telltale signs of intoxication, as well as blood on the bumper and windshield. They radioed fellow officers in the area, who located the victim. Despite their efforts to revive Ross, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Image courtesy of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department
After reading all of that, we have to ask: what possible defense could be argued here? Even if there was an excuse for the drunk driving, that doesn't excuse the hit and run. Even had the pedestrian threw himself in front of the vehicle in an unusual attempt at suicide, Peralta still would have been required to stop and contact the police immediately. Accident, vehicular manslaughter, or drunken collision, you are required to stop at the scene of the accident if there are any serious injuries.
On the hit-and-run charge alone, Peralta faced up to four years for not stopping at the scene of a deadly accident, plus an additional five years in prison if the failure to stop came after fleeing from the scene of the crime after committing manslaughter. Tack on the potential penalties for vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence and the plea "deal" might have only saved him from paying legal fees. At this point, that's probably the best he could hope for.
- Consult a Los Angeles DUI Defense Attorney (FindLaw)
- Irony: Substance Abuse Counselor Charged With DUI, Murder (FindLaw's Los Angeles DUI Blog)
- Oxnard Mom Sentenced: 27 Years for Daughter's Death in Fatal DUI (FindLaw's Los Angeles DUI Blog)
- Leaving the Scene of an Accident/Hit and Run (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)