If you are charged with DUI in southern California – even if the charge is a first-offense misdemeanor – take your case at once to an experienced Orange County DUI defense attorney, and heed your attorney’s advice. In any criminal trial, if you are the defendant, it’s usually best to exercise your right not to testify. Consider the example of one Menlo Park woman – on trial recently for two DUI-related second-degree murder charges – who may go to prison for the rest of her life. Marjorie Reitzell told jurors that even though she killed two pedestrians, crashed into a car full of teens, and finally slammed into a tree back in October 2013, she now has the ability to drive safely when she is intoxicated. The jury didn’t buy it.

Ms. Reitzell, 55, was convicted by a San Mateo County jury of two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter, and felony DUI. With sentencing enhancements for a high blood alcohol content level as well as a prior DUI conviction from 2012, Ms. Reitzell faces 36 years to life in prison. According to the prosecution, Ms. Reitzell was drinking heavily all day on October 24, 2013, and even had a minor accident earlier in the day. She had stopped at a liquor store just prior to striking a married couple walking their dog. She then crashed into a car with four teenagers and ending up crashing her 1998 Honda Accord into a tree.

Her blood alcohol content level was nearly three times the legal limit, according to the prosecutor. Ms. Reitzell is scheduled for sentencing in June. Hopefully, you’ll never have to face 36 years to life, but if you are charged with DUI in southern California – now or in the future, whether it’s a misdemeanor or a felony – fight the charge. Immediately obtain the help of an experienced Orange County DUI defense attorney, and heed that attorney’s advice.