LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a serious offense and carries both criminal and administrative penalties. Anyone who is charged with DUI in Nevada is subject to a number of punishments, including having their license revoked, being ordered to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in their vehicle, paying expensive fines, and worst of all, being sent to prison.
Because drunk driving is considered a crime, it is in every driver’s best interest to solicit the help of a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Without a superior legal team to fight a case in court, the accused driver is much more likely to face the maximum penalties.
Many times, criminal lawyers can resolve a DUI charges within the first hearing, eliminating the need for lengthy and drawn-out proceedings that are often associated with drunk driving cases.
A quick end to a DUI case – who wouldn’t want that?
Well, apparently not one particular Las Vegas man, who recently waived his right to a preliminary hearing for a fatal DUI crash that took place on Christmas Eve.
The suspect, Ray Diokno, 26, is facing a whopping five counts each of DUI and reckless driving for his role in a two-vehicle accident that caused the death of two women and serious injuries to five other victims.
The arrest report states that Diokno told Las Vegas police that he had consumed five whiskey shots a few hours before the fatal crash. According to witness accounts, two cars were seen speeding down Cheyenne Avenue near Hualapai Way shortly before midnight on December 24, 2014, one of which was being driven by Diokno.
The other vehicle made it past the Hualapai intersection, but Diokno ran a red light, leading him to crash into an SUV that was in the process of turning onto Cheyenne Avenue. The impact caused the SUV to roll over. Two people inside the vehicle, Etherine Noble, 81, and her daughter, Essie Mae Hale, 63, were killed. Another woman and a one-year-old child who were also inside the SUV were injured.
Diokno and the two passengers who were in his vehicle, Jermayne Jefferson and Matthew Modelo, all suffered serious injuries. All five people who were hurt were hospitalized.
In the aftermath of the fatal accident, authorities determined that Diokno’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.13 percent – and this was already three hours after the crash. An hour later, it was measured at 0.10 percent. The actual BAC at the time of the crash could have very likely been over .20 percent.
In Nevada, the legal BAC limit is 0.08 percent, which means Diokno could have been driving with a BAC level that is double the state’s limit.
A standard DUI conviction in Nevada is bad enough, but when bodily harm is inflicted upon a person or multiple people – especially when the injuries result in death – due to intoxicated driving, the motorist will face Aggravated DUI charges. An Aggravated DUI charge in Nevada is an automatic felony, even if this was the driver’s first drunk driving offense.
If convicted of Aggravated DUI, the individual will be ordered to serve a minimum of two years in prison and will be required to pay at least $2,000 in fines. And this is just the minimum. At most, the convicted motorist will spend 20 years in jail and will have to pay a fine of $5,000.
Given the severity of this crime and the penalties that can be expected, one has to wonder what Diokno was thinking when he chose to waive his right to a hearing.
For his own sake, he hopefully didn’t also waive his right to legal counsel with a criminal defense lawyer, as he’s going to need all the help he can get to avoid spending the next few decades in prison.