Last Wednesday a Nevada judge dismissed charges against Jean Soriano, who was charged with “DUI causing serious bodily injury or death.” Soriano was charged after a March 30th accident resulting in the death of 5 people. The equivalent charge in Utah is Automobile Homicide. The Automobile Homicide statute criminalizes operating a motor vehicle in a negligent manner which causes the death of another WHILE having a blood alcohol content of .08 or greater or being under the influence of alcohol or drugs to a degree that render the person incapable of safely operating a vehicle. Automobile Homicide is a second degree felony which carries a prison term of 1-15 years.
Dismissal of an automobile homicide case is no small feat and something that judges take seriously. In the Soriano case, investigators found blood and DNA evidence indicating that Soriano was not the driver of the vehicle. The night of the crash Soriano told police that he had been driving. Blood test show that his BAC was .12 at the time of the crash. Later he recanted, claiming that another person in the vehicle, Alfred Gomez, was actually driving and threatened Soriano until he agreed to claim responsibility for the accident. Investigation revealed “a footprint on the driver’s door and blood drops on the passenger window” which showed that Soriano couldn’t have been behind the wheel at the time of the crash.
Unfortunately, Gomez, the actual driver was not tested for alcohol while he was in the hospital. That failure will probably foreclose the states ability to charge Gomez with automobile homicide. Additionally, Gomez’s whereabouts are not known at this time.
Automobile homicide cases require expertise in the field of DUI and criminal defense in general. A Utah Automobile Homicide Attorney can help you defend against an Automobile Homicide charge.