A person charged with DUI can face serious consequences if any person involved in the traffic accident was injured. The prosecution can charge a defendant under CA VC 23153 for causing bodily injury involving a DUI accident. Injury DUI cases are most often charged as a Felony which have the potential punishment of state prison time. DUI with injury cases demand special attention from a criminal attorney who must know the efficient and effective methods to investigate the case. Forensic experts from the police department and prosecution investigators will always submit reports taken at the accident site. It is crucial to gather this evidence as soon as possible to get ahead of the prosecutors efforts to get a conviction. Careful and skilled examination of the available evidence and the use of DUI experts are some of the methods used by attorneys.
The DUI causing bodily injury charge must be specifically stated in the accusatory pleading. This code section increases the penalties imposed for a DUI conviction. For each victim that is injured an additional one year prison term can be imposed. The enhancement to any sentence also depends on whether the offense is charged as a misdemeanor or felony. Misdemeanor DUI with injury has consequences similar to a non-injury DUI. This includes days up to one year in county jail, fines and restitution to victims, public works service or work furlough, and attendance of alcohol and drug education classes.
The Felony DUI causing injury has a potential sentence of several years in state prison depending on the facts of the case. If any victim suffers "great bodily injury" the prosecution can request a longer prison term. DUI with injury cases also impose a high bail, upwards of $50,000.
Defenses to DUI Causing Injury
There are always mitigating circumstances which should be argued and presented to the prosecution and the judge in the case. When facing a felony charge there is a significant amount of preparation and research that a San Diego DUI Lawyer must undertake. The occurrence of an accident does not automatically put you at fault. Working with accident re-constructionists we can determine an accurate story of how a collision took place and what factors contributed to it. Officers will often write their reports when investigating an accident with the assumption that the drunk driver was at fault. Rushing through a case and jumping at the first offer from the prosecution is not wise and can have long term consequences.
You should discuss your DUI case with a DUI Attorney in San Diego to best understand what the charges against you mean and how to best defend your case. In addition to vehicle code violations DUI with injury can involve serious circumstances like death of a victim. Under CA PC 191.5 a prosecutor can charge vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. Manslaughter relating to a DUI is charged if you were negligent in causing the death of another or showed reckless indifference for the life of another.
DUI and Child Endangerment
CA PC 273 is the child endangerment statute which prosecutors can include in their allegations. If you commit a DUI offense with a child passenger this can be charged as a felony. This offense brings a maximum of six years in state prison in addition to the separate DUI conviction.
DUI as a Strike Prior
If you are convicted of a DUI causing injury and any victim suffers great bodily injury this will be considered a strike prior under the "Three Strikes Law." Examining the nature and extent of a victims injuries requires experience with these specific types of cases. The DUI Lawyer team of Gedulin & Greany have used many expert medical consultants to reduce charges against their clients.