A California man who is accused of striking and killing a pedestrian while under the influence of alcohol on during the early morning hours of Jan. 26 has pleaded not guilty to charges of homicide, drunk driving and gross vehicular manslaughter. The 32-year-old man entered his not guilty pleas during an Aug. 13 arraignment hearing in County. He faces a murder charge because a records check revealed that he was convicted on a DUI charge in 2010.
Accident claims the life of an active-duty marine
The man has been charged in connection with a motor vehicle accident in Oceanside that claimed the life of a 22-year-old pedestrian. According to police, the man had a blood alcohol concentration of .22% at the time. This is almost three times the legal limit to drive in California. It was subsequently learned that the victim was an active-duty member of the U.S. Marine Corps stationed at Camp Pendleton. He was struck as he crossed North Coast Highway in the vicinity of Sportfisher Drive at approximately 1:10 a.m. He was pronounced dead at a nearby trauma center about an hour later.
Public defender advocates on behalf of DUI suspect
During the arraignment hearing, a deputy public defender argued that the man should be released from custody or have his $1 million bail substantially reduced because he had demonstrated that he was not a flight risk. The judge was swayed by this argument and reduced the man’s bail to $250,000. He is scheduled to appear in court again for a readiness conference on Sept. 15.
Bail is to ensure suspects appear in court
Judges set bail in to make sure that criminal defendants are present in court for their trials. Experienced criminal defense attorneys may argue that bail should be set low in DUI cases when the defendant has long-standing and strong ties to the community and no longer poses a threat to society because they have lost their driving privileges.