Jean Ervin Soriano, the 18 year old Utah driver who was arrested in Nevada for driving under the influence which resulted in the deaths of five people, all family members from California, has been cleared of all charges against him relating to the deaths. Apparently, Jean Ervin Soriano wasn’t the one actually driving the car which ended the lives of those five people.

Background of Soriano’s Case

Young Soriano was arrested for the DUI and deaths resulting from the crash on the morning of Saturday, March 30th, 2013 by the Nevada Highway Patrol. During the initial investigation, Soriano was revealed to have had a blood alcohol content of .12%. Had he been the legal age to drink, this would have been four points over the legal limit. When police questioned Soriano, he admitted that he was the one who was driving the car when it crashed. He was promptly arrested, charged, and was in confinement from the morning of the accident until he was released on July 10th, 2013. He was released after a Highway Patrolman testified that DNA evidence proved that Soriano was not the driver of the vehicle on the morning of the crash. In fact, the man who was originally reported as Soriano’s passenger was revealed to have been the actual driver.

The Case Crumbles

According to legal representation for Jean Soriano, it was the man who was originally reported to be the passenger in the vehicle who intimidated Soriano and forced him to falsely implicate himself. The man is identified as 23 year old Alfred Gomez, also of Utah. The unfortunate twist in this story is that, because Alfred Gomez was originally and wrongfully reported as the passenger on the night of the accident, his blood alcohol level was not tested – therefore the prosecutor will have to move forward with charges against the actual driver in the accident without the evidence of a chemical test.

Suspect as Driver

America’s legal landscape could best be described as a patchwork of jurisdictions, laws, codes, and statutes that help to govern society as a whole. This is why the laws and procedures for dealing with DUI will be slightly different from state to state, and which is why anyone arrested for DUI should consult with an experienced DUI defense attorney in the state where the arrest occurred.

Even though DUI laws vary from state to state, the requirement for the suspect to be the driver is uniform across the board. This means that in order for a prosecutor to prove his or her DUI case against a suspect, whether in California or Nevada, that prosecutor must show that it was the suspect who was actually driving the vehicle at the time of the accident. Failure to prove this fact beyond a reasonable doubt equals the failure of the prosecutor to present all of the necessary elements of the offense, and the suspect must be released. In this case, Jean Ervin Soriano was not behind the wheel on the night that the five family members were killed and, in fact, should be counted as another victim in the tragic accident.