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Driver accused of fatal DUI pleads from hospital bed
Alexandria Bayne swiftly discovered the treatment for her injuries would not prevent her arraignment for the fatal head-on collision that took place in 4S Ranch on December 17th. Bayne is alleged to have had a blood-alcohol level at .33 percent at the time of the crash, over four times more than the legal limit. Bayne was driving on the wrong side of the road which is said to have been the cause of the crash that killed a mother of a 4-year old child. In a depressing turn of events, the victim was a nurse who worked for the very same health system that is now treating Bayne for her significant injuries in the crash that killed her. The victim, Sarita Shakya, died at the scene and is survived by her husband and young daughter.
Bayne’s case already looks grim with an extensive DUI history including a 2005 San Diego County conviction and a 2008 Los Angeles County conviction as reported by NBC San Diego. Additionally, Deputy District Attorney Cally Bright reported that the accused spent the entire day drinking including before and after driving her own children multiple locations. According to CBS 8, Bayne was arraigned at the hospital and is now facing 25 years to life in convicted. Her bail is set at an extremely high $3 million dollars likely based on the seriousness of her charges. Bayne not only faces charges relating to the time of her crash but also felony child endangerment charges for the alleged transportation of her children to and from a restaurant while under the influence of alcohol.
She has pleaded not guilty to all of her charges. It is assumed that one or more future court hearings may also take place at the hospital due to the extent of her personal injuries. While there has been no further information or updates regarding her condition, the fact that her arraignment took place within the hospital while she was confined to a bed gives some indication of her limits at this time. Her readiness hearing is scheduled to take place mid-January. Alexandria’s charges include:
- Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated
- Felony child endangerment
- Driving on the wrong side of a divided highway causing death
- DUI causing injury
Driving on the wrong side of a divided highway is not a charge most people are accustomed to hearing or seeing. A major requirement for conviction on this charge is willful failure to drive on the correct side of the road. Inadvertent incidences or accidental loss of control would not qualify for a conviction in this case as they are not willful in nature. Causing death or injury such as in this case can raise this offense to felony level. As a misdemeanor, this offense can carry a maximum of one year in a county jail. When charged as a felony, the convicted party faces up to three years in prison. The driver is not required to directly cause injury or death in order to face conviction. A driver who willfully drives on the wrong side of the road, causing another driver to swerve in avoidance and cause an injury or death is liable for indirectly causing that injury or death.
Felony child endangerment in this case is a result of the potential for injury or death to Bayne’s own children due to allegedly driving her children around while intoxicated. While there were no children in the car at the time of the fatal crash, prosecutors are using evidence and reports of her day of drinking in its entirety to convict. Traditionally a wobbler, prosecutors have opted for felony level charges in this case, and in multiple counts. Bayne can face up to six years in prison for each count she is ultimately convicted of.
Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is an extremely serious felony that is only dwarfed by the murder charge in this case. Proving gross negligence is mandatory for conviction, meaning simple negligence is not enough for this charge to stick. An uncaring attitude despite knowing the risks is unlikely to be hard to prove as the defendant has a history of DUI offenses. This charge carries with it a stiff penalty of four to 10 years in prison. Sentencing adaptions, however, can drastically increase the total sentence up to life in prison. Individuals who have at least two prior DUI convictions, such as Bayne, can potentially face from 15 years to life in prison. Additionally, via the Watson murder rule, this charge could be upgraded to second degree murder which also will incur a penalty of 15 years to life in prison.
The murder charge in this case was unspecified, but as there is no report of premeditation or a deliberate act of killing it can be safely assumed this is a second-degree murder charge. As mentioned above, a second-degree murder conviction in the state of California carries with it a penalty of 15 years to life in prison. Based upon the circumstances Bayne can receive this penalty from either this murder charge or the gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated charge if utilizing enhancements, or both.
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol happens frequently despite the stiff penalties associated with the crime. Most individuals are generally aware that minor punishments such as a license suspension and DUI school classes occur, but fail to realize the potential long term impact and expense. In this example, previous DUI convictions have the potential to add on a life sentence to a crime that would otherwise carry only four to 10 years upon conviction. While the seriousness of these alleged crimes may warrant such heavy handed punishment, the same cannot always be said of the average person facing a DUI charge. When charged with a DUI, the very first step should be to secure a criminal lawyer for your case immediately. Time is of the essence and simply taking the charge as it stands is never in your favor. Dismissal, acquittal, plea deals and alternative sentencing are all options that can lessen the burden of DUI, especially for first time charges.
Criminal defense attorney Vik Monder specializes in DUI and related charges. Whether you are facing a basic, non-injurious DUI charge or one involving serious death or injury, Vik Monder is the attorney for you. Serious charges such as the ones mentioned in this story can cause you to spend a lifetime in jail at the mercy of the parole board. However, whether large or small proper representation matters when your freedom and livelihood are at stake. At Monder Law we deliver results and can help prevent you from serving unnecessary and undeserved jail time. Never be left in the dark about what your prospective lawyer can and will do for your case, we will work with you every step of the way. If you are in need of a defense attorney for any crime, contact Vik Monder for your free consultation at 619-405-0063 or visit our website San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney.