Monder Law Group - News
Drunk Woman Who Drove with Man’s Body in Windshield Receives Trial Date
An Oceanside woman charged with a multitude of serious felonies including murder has finally received her trial date of August 15th, 2017. Esteysi “Stacy” Sanchez shook national headlines last summer when she allegedly drove into a man on the sidewalk while driving drunk with the grisly turn of events only getting worse from there. The man was hit with such force his leg was severed, ultimately slid across the top of her vehicle and remained on her car for the duration of her travel. Despite the gravely wounded man still stuck in her windshield at the time, she allegedly continued to drive home unfazed for another mile while his detached leg lay on her trunk. Tensions were high at the time the case broke national headlines, primarily stemming from the seemingly uncaring attitude Sanchez displayed toward the victim.
According to KUSI News, Sanchez has been charged with a slew of charges including hit-and-run, murder, DUI causing injury, gross vehicular manslaughter, and driving without a license. It took until December for both friends and witnesses of Sanchez to be allowed to present some of their testimony in a preliminary court hearing. The testimony presented included statements of Sanchez’ heavy drinking as well as repeated calls not to drive home following that long night of drinking. The defendant is alleged to have disregarded those warnings and driven home anyway at which point the victim was fatally struck.
Typically a murder charge is bestowed in a fatal DUI case when the accused has a history of DUI convictions. This is primarily known as a Watson murder charge. For Watson murder to apply, the defendant would have to have been issued a formal warning that drunk driving places others at risk for injury or death and they could be charged with murder in the future for doing so. This formal warning is most often accomplished by a court-ordered signing of a document, indicating one has read and understood the warnings and potential consequences. As an overview of the risks is also provided at DUI school, attendance of DUI can enough to provoke a Watson murder charge.
So what makes this case different? Sanchez has no prior history of any DUI convictions, nor did she know and intentionally kill her victim. In addition, Sanchez did not have a driver’s license at all. The murder charge alleged stems solely from her conscious disregard for human life, indicated by driving nearly a mile with a dying man stuck in her windshield and never offering assistance or contacting police. Even a drunk driver would have been unable to claim ignorance of a collision that serious, particularly with a body lodged inside your car and resting on your passenger seat. The defense, in this case, has an extremely tough road ahead of them. Based on the facts of the case it would seem that the DUI aspect may play a smaller role in this situation. As the murder charge is not intricately connected with the DUI, even if a DUI conviction proved unsuccessful the defendant could still face 15 years to life in prison based on second-degree murder alone. The severity of the charges and circumstances in question are clear. The San Diego Tribune reports that Sanchez is currently held on a bail of 1.5 million dollars.
With a controversial president now in office, this story has proved to be yet another catalyst for individuals and politicians supportive of tighter border controls. At the time of the incident, public reaction was swift with many protesters who were reported to have formed a wall outside of the Chula Vista courthouse, according to KUSI News. A group calling themselves, San Diegans for Secure Borders were also present in the group of protesters. Thankfully, the protests proved peaceful in nature, with only verbal confrontations. Concerned citizens held up pictures of other recent victims of illegal immigrant crimes and implored the government to provide better enforcement of our laws. Sanchez was placed on an immediate immigration hold by ICE, or Immigration and Customs Enforcement. An immigration hold merely means that when eligible for release, they instead will be transferred over to federal custody to await an immigration hearing. Often individuals can obtain their release via bail while awaiting this hearing but mandatory detention until the decision and possible deportation is required for crimes of this nature if she is ultimately convicted.
Of the crimes she is charged with, second-degree murder leads the way with the stiffest of penalties as the minimum sentence is 15 years. Gross vehicular manslaughter is punishable by four to ten years in state prison. Enhancements can increase this term to 15 years to life but do not qualify in this situation as Sanchez has no prior DUI convictions or even a criminal record. DUI causing injury is a wobbler, giving discretion in either a misdemeanor or felony level charge. While we cannot speculate further on the charge, the difference is between up to a year in a county jail or several years in prison. The hit and run charges are similar with the wobbler factor. On the felony end of penalties, a conviction could result in a two to four-year prison sentence due to the fact a victim died in this instance. Lastly, driving without a license which is the least serious of all crimes Sanchez is facing. In this case, up to six months in county jail is the maximum penalty. All of the crimes charged here carry fines and other monetary penalties which will likely total tens of thousands in costs. However, the high likelihood of deportation upon release may deem collection all but impossible. For now, it is a long wait until trial and the results of it remain to be seen.
Accidents and arrests stemming from driving under the influence happen every day around the country. Not all cases are so grievous and upsetting as the case in question. Many are mistakes or underestimating how drunk you truly are when leaving a restaurant or party. It is these cases that benefit the most from a staunch defender of your right to a fair and balanced justice system. The most important resource in any DUI case is time, and in order to provide the best defense you should not hesitate to contact a skilled defense attorney with experience in DUI cases.
Criminal defense attorney Vik Monder has successfully represented those defending against all types of DUI related crimes, even the most tragic. As a highly experienced DUI lawyer, he understands the ins and outs of the process, and the best routes to take to ensure you do not suffer a lengthy conviction for an accident. A veteran of multiple high-profile cases, Vik Monder will give your case the attention it deserves when your livelihood and future may depend on it. To see what Vik Monder can do for your case today, call to schedule your free consultation at 619-405-0063 or visit our website by clicking San Diego Criminal Lawyer