A California woman has been convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to fifteen years to life in prison after a fatal California drunk driving accident. As this case highlights, a DUI-related accident can have catastrophic consequences for everyone involved.

According to authorities, Ashley Johnigan drank heavily in the hours before she crashed head-on into the car of Laura Cleaves on May 1, 2008. Her blood alcohol level after the accident was reported to be .24 percent, three times the legal limit in California.

During her California DUI trial, the prosecutor also offered testimony that she refused multiple offers of rides home from the Maverick Saloon, where she was drinking, and sped away from California Highway Patrol Officers who pulled up behind her in a patrol car when she stopped along Highway 154 just prior to the fatal collision.

As reported by the Santa Maria Times, Ashley Johnigan had tried to have her murder conviction overturned. The court, however, found that the prosecution had met its burden to prove the implied malice requirement for second-degree murder.

“Appellant’s plan was to drive to the Maverick Saloon, drink with friends, and drive home alone. Appellant consumed an excessive amount of alcohol, was warned that she was too intoxicated to drive, was warned that she could harm someone, and turned down offers for a safe ride home,” the court ruled.

If you are charged with California DUI accident involving death or serious injuries, it is imperative to consult with an experienced California DUI defense attorney who can help you determine your legal options.

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