A man in California recently pleaded not guilty to charges related to drunk driving and hit and run. The charges stem from an alleged DUI car accident that took place in January and resulted in a bicyclist's death. His not-guilty plea was entered on a Monday.
According to authorities, the 48-year-old man, whose prominent family runs a vineyard corporation, was driving one night and suddenly hit a bicyclist at about 9:30 p.m. The man reportedly ended up leaving the accident scene. Police said they later found him at a gas station and determined that he had been driving while under the influence.
The bicyclist, who was 32 years old, ended up passing away the following day at the hospital. The man was charged with two charges of misdemeanor DUI and felony hit and run. If he is convicted, he may spend four years behind prison bars. According to the prosecution, the man was not charged with felony DUI because he did not commit any independent illegal act, besides driving while under the influence, that led to the bicyclist's debt.
Those facing DUI charges have the right to proceed to trial, where the prosecution must prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt before convictions can happen. This standard is in place in an effort to protect innocent people from being convicted and sentenced for crimes they did not actually commit. An attorney in California can investigate a defendant's DUI case thoroughly and develop a legal strategy that forces the prosecution to prove each aspect of the case. The attorney's goal will be to clear the client's name or to reduce the charge so as to reduce the impact it will have on his or her personal and professional lives.
Source: bakersfield.com, "John Giumarra III pleads not guilty to charges filed in fatal January crash", Jason Kotowski, July 17, 2017