July 2017 Newsletter
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Comparing and Contrasting Murder and Vehicular Manslaughter in California
Vehicular manslaughter - it is what happens when a vehicle is being operated with some degree of negligence and that negligence causes the death of another individual. Murder, on the other hand, is when someone commits an act that causes the death of another with malice aforethought. There are key differences between the two, though the same act, on its face, may fall into either category.

Negligence is a key element in vehicular manslaughter - it can either be ordinary negligence or gross negligence. Ordinary negligence that results in vehicular manslaughter is when a defendant operates a vehicle and, while operating that vehicle, does something or fails to do something that a reasonably careful person would have done in the same situation. Gross negligence, on the other hand, is similar except that the defendant must have acted in a reckless way, creating a high risk of death or great bodily injury, when a reasonable person would have known that those actions would create such a risk. See Cal. Penal Code § 192 . In either case, death must have resulted from the behavior of the accused.

Murder, in contrast, requires the elements of malice and aforethought - two elements that are not required for a charge of vehicular manslaughter. Malice aforethought means that an individual's actions are done with willful, deliberate, and premeditated intent. This does not mean that a person planned for an extensive period of time; instead, it simply means that the person did what he or she intended to do. It is not necessary that an individual be proven to have maturely or meaningfully reflected on the gravity of the act to show that it was deliberate and premeditated. See Cal. Penal Code §§ 187 et seq.

These two different crimes can look very similar as the distinction comes from determining what the person charged with the death intended to do. For example, an individual could run a red light through a busy intersection on a street with many pedestrians. If someone died as the result, the investigation would need to show what circumstances surrounded that occurrence. If the investigation showed that the driver of the vehicle was driving a car that had faulty brakes but believed the brakes would function adequately to prevent hitting a pedestrian, that would have a different consequence than if the same person did not care whether the vehicle could stop or not.

Any action that results in the death of another human being needs to be carefully and thoughtfully addressed by an attorney who understands the intricacies of California criminal law. If you or someone you know is facing a charge of vehicular manslaughter or murder, finding an experienced California attorney can keep a bad situation from becoming more harmful.

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Virginia Landry can help make sure you understand the crimes with which you are charged. We are experienced in representing persons charged with all types of crimes in and around Orange County, California. Call our office at 866.902.6880 or visit our website at www.orangecountycriminallaw.com to get started.
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Help! My Child Was Charged With a DUI!

Being charged with driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious situation, but never more so than when the accused is under the legal age for drinking alcohol. For the parent, it is often a time of shock and disbelief, as well as anger and disappointment. But once these feelings lessen, it becomes the time to face the charges head on and help your child minimize the long-term consequences from his or her error in judgment.

For some parents, there may be an initial temptation to allow the child to face the legal consequences without intervention, and that would be a serious mistake. A conviction and the penalties for underage drinking are severe and stay with the person charged for a long time - permanently on his or her criminal record if found guilty and at least 10 years on his or her driving record. This is not the time for a child to learn from the school of hard knocks. Instead, teens charged with DUI need to help deal with the charges and hopefully have those charges reduced.

An underage DUI can be far more challenging than a DUI for an adult. California has a no-tolerance policy for underage drinking which means that any measurable amount of alcohol in your system is chargeable.

California Underage DUI

Underage drivers can be charged with up to four crimes for the same behaviors. First, an underage driver can be charged with the adult standard DUI for allegedly having a BAC of over 0.08%. Second, he or she may be charged with an underage DUI for allegedly having a BAC over 0.05%. Third, the child may be charged under the zero tolerance policy for allegedly having a BAC over 0.01%. Finally, impaired driving may also be charged.

These four charges on an underage driver's record can have long-term implications for the future. Although some might think that the courts would look at an underage driver with sympathy for the future and be lenient in their sentencing, this is not often the case. As a result, these charges may end up turning into convictions, and the underage driver serves real time for what was likely a one-time error in judgment. If convicted, an underage driver carries a record into the future that must be disclosed to colleges if applying for financial aid and potential employers, affecting the child's future every step of the way.

If you are a parent of an underage driver who has been charged with driving under the influence, the most important decision you can make is to obtain an experienced DUI attorney. At the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, our Orange County DUI attorneys work every day to defend those charged with DUI, and they will protect your rights. To set up a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys, call us today at  877.384.7833 (877.DUI.Queen).
A Note To Our Clients
  • To our current clients: Thank you for the opportunity to serve you during this difficult time.
  • To our future clients: We look forward to working with you in your time of need.
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Virginia Landry

Virginia L. Landry received her undergraduate degree from Northern Arizona University in 1982. She then went on to pursue her law degree from Western State University, graduating in 1988. The following year, Ms. Landry opened her own Law Office. As a nationally recognized Board Certified DUI Defense Attorney Specialist, Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney Virginia L. Landry, is able to practice law within all the California state courts and the Central District Court of the United States.


As a criminal defense lawyer with years of litigation and trial experience, Ms. Landry is fully prepared to handle criminal cases involving violent crimes, white collar crimes, theft crimes, sex crimes, juvenile crimes, drug crimes, weapons charges, and domestic violence. Attorney Landry has successfully represented clients facing a variety of complex misdemeanor and felony charges.

In addition to her current position as Regent for the National College for DUI Defense (NCDD), Virginia serves on the Board of Directors for the California DUI Lawyers Association  as its Secretary. Virginia is one of only a handful of attorneys across the nation who is Board Certified in DUI Defense. She has also received her  certificate of instruction , successfully training participants in DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Student and Instructor courses.


Virginia Landry served on two committees and was on the Orange County Bar Association's Board of Directors for three years, is a past President and current member of the West Orange County Bar Association, is currently a Sustaining Member for the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice and is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers serving as Co-Chair of the DUI / DWI Committee. Other local bar associations include the North Orange County Bar Association, The Newport Harbor Bar Association, the South Harbor Bar Association, the Western State University Alumni Association and the Northern Arizona University Alumni Association.