Thursday, April 09, 2009
A Bit Of The Law Facing Nick Adenhart's Killer
As I expected, the driver of the red minivan that struck the car carrying Nick Adenhart — one Andrew Thomas Gallardo, 22, of Riverside — was driving on a suspended license. Drunk drivers are often repeaters. Hopefully this is the last time he will be driving anywhere, or for that matter, free for a very long time. To that end, it appears that Gallardo has been charged with felony hit-and-run, a violation of Sec. 20001 of the California Vehicle Code. He's facing as little as 90 days in county lockup (¶ 2) or up to five years in state prison; the term could be longer if he were charged with vehicular manslaughter (Sec. 191 and 192 of the California Penal Code), but I haven't seen him so charged anywhere.
Update: The Times' front page story today says that "felony hit-and-run driving, DUI, vehicular manslaughter and, possibly, murder charges" are on the table. That would mean he's eligible for 15 years to life under California Penal Code Sec. 191.5(d).
There's a big difference between charges people are booked on (i.e., the ones the cops can confirm at the moment of arrest) and what they're eventually charged with by the DA. That's because at the moment of arrest, the cops don't usually know all the facts. The arrest could be successfully challenged at arraignment if the cops arrest and book someone on charges that they can't substantiate at that very moment.