A judge threw out second-degree murder charges against a man accused of driving drunk and killing two people in Las Vegas. Aaron Kruse, 24, admitted to police to drinking before he drove about 115 mph and slamming into a Toyota Corolla in a crash that left Norma Ortiz, 45, and Alfonso Toxqui, 49, dead in November. Deputy Public Defender David Westbrook argued that charging Kruse with second-degree murder violated state law.
Nevada roadway dangers.
Ninety-nine people died on Nevada roads in 2017 because of alcohol-related car accidents. While impaired driving fatalities are declining in Nevada, there are still too many people killed and injured. In an effort to curb drivers from getting behind the wheel after drinking, Nevada recently passed Law SB259 which went into effect Oct. 1, 2018, according to the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety, whereby any person arrested for DUI is required to install an ignition interlock device in order to reinstate their driving privileges.
Value of ignition interlock device.
The ignition interlock device measures the level of alcohol in the driver’s breath through a mouthpiece. If the device detects alcohol, the driver will not be able to start the vehicle. A camera accompanies the device to confirm that the person who provided the breath is the one driving the vehicle.
Misdemeanor versus felony.
Arrests for breaking driving under the influence laws in Nevada result in charges spanning from misdemeanor to felony offense classifications. The penalties for drunk driving depend on factors including blood alcohol level, age, and repeat offender status, to name a few. The outcome involves costly fines, driver’s license revocation, and jail time when warranted. In Nevada, a first time DUI offender faces up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Their license can also be suspended for a minimum of 90 days. For a third offense, a driver can be sentenced to up to 6 years in prison, fined up to $5,000, and their license can be suspended for up to 3 years. The typical costs associated with driving under the influence are about $10,000 including fees, fines and increased insurance premiums.
Compensatory damages (economic).
In Las Vegas, Nevada, if a drunk driver has caused you physical injury or damaged property, your rights include full compensation for the damages you have suffered. Compensation could include hospital bills as well as long-term medical costs for physical therapy or other rehabilitative medical procedures in the future. Plaintiffs can also secure compensation for damaged personal property and loss of wages. Some plaintiffs may suffer permanent disabilities that prevent them from returning to the same job or working at all in the future. In these situations, plaintiffs’ attorneys will likely call on expert witnesses who will support the plaintiff’s lost future earning potential with clear evidence to the court.
Compensatory damages (non-economic).
Nevada law also allows plaintiffs to recover pain and suffering compensation and the jury will impact the appropriate amount of pain and suffering compensation awarded. Nevada law does not cap or limit the amount of pain and suffering compensation available to a victim of a DUI civil claim.
In accordance with Nevada Law NRS 42:010 victims have the right to seek punitive damages. Nevada judges most often see drunk driving as going beyond the scope of typical negligence resulting in substantial civil penalties because a DUI is a criminal offense.
Seek legal counsel.
When a drunk driving accident occurs and severely alter your life and liberty, contact an experienced personal injury attorney who is familiar with DUI laws to ensure the specifics of your case are addressed toward the best legal outcome.