The 18-year-old driver in a Redwood City crash has pleaded not guilty to DUI and manslaughter. The passenger in the vehicle, also an 18-year-old, was killed in the crash. Both were San Jose residents.

In the early morning hours of February 23, the young women were travelling Southbound on Highway 101 in a black Audi A3, according to the California State Highway Patrol. At approximately 3:20 a.m., calls began to come in that a vehicle had veered off the highway, down an embankment, and struck a light pole and two trees. The vehicle finally came to a rest on its roof.

Upon arrival, the passenger of the vehicle was found to be dead, and the driver was transported to Stanford Medical Center for treatment of major injuries. Officers interviewed the driver at the hospital where she stated they had been at a party in San Francisco and had taken “lots of shots.” A preliminary alcohol screening performed at the hospital only showed a blood alcohol level of 0.06 to 0.07%, which is below the California legal limit of .08 percent. Regardless, authorities went ahead and charged the driver with multiple charges including felony vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving under the influence. She has pleaded not guilty to those charges, and authorities are still awaiting the results of an additional alcohol screening by blood sample. The driver is out on bail of $100,000.

In the state of California, a felony vehicular manslaughter charge can result in serious prison time ranging from 4, 6 or 10 years. Any person who has been charged with such a serious crime would be well advised to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. It is not in a defendant’s best interests to attempt to navigate charges of this magnitude alone.