DUI Causing Injury – Charges and How to Defend Yourself
Being charged with driving under the influence is bad enough. But it's even worse to be charged with causing an injury to another person, and the penalties can be very severe. Learn what you need to know about these charges and how to defend yourself on this page.
What are DUI Causing Injury Charges?
Despite their severe reputation and the stress that comes with them, charges of both driving under the influence and causing a bodily injury are tricky for prosecutors to prove. That's because they have to show, according to California Vehicle Code 23153 Sections (a), (f), and (g), that:
- You were driving a vehicle
- You were under the influence of alcohol or a drug, which means a test had to be given and had to show an accurate result
- You were driving and performed some illegal act – in this sense, an illegal act is any breaking of the rules of the road, like making an illegal crossing into another lane
- Your illegal act directly led to the bodily harm of another person
Thus, you won't be convicted if you were merely driving clumsily, if you were just driving under the influence, or if someone else caused the accident that led to bodily harm.
Penalties for DUI Causing Injury Charges
DUI penalties can vary based on whether the charge in question is a misdemeanor or felony and whether you have prior DUI charges on your record. DUI penalties increase the more charges and convictions you have on your record, and some may even count as a "strike" toward to California's "Three Strikes Law".
Here are a few example penalties:
- Misdemeanor penalties can lead to informal probation for between three and five years, between $390 and $5000 in fines, up to a year in county jail, and up to 30 months in a court-approved alcohol or drug education program. Licensure suspension is also common for between one and three years
- Felony penalties can include up to four years in California state prison, up to another six years in prison if a victim suffers great bodily harm, up to $5000 in fines, revocation of your driver's license, and up to 30 months of court-approved DUI school
Because these penalties can be so severe, it's critical that you contact a California criminal defense attorney ASAP.
Defenses for DUI Causing Injury Charges
Your defense counsel can utilize several defense strategies to help you avoid a conviction.
The Harm Caused Wasn't Your Fault
If you were driving under the influence but were still following the rules of the road, an accident or bodily harm cannot be attributed to your driving. Thus, you will not be convicted of this specific crime.
The Test Results Weren't Accurate
Breath or chemical DUI tests are not always accurate and can often be disputed. If the tests aren't accurate, your driving activity cannot be proven to be attributed to the effects of alcohol or drugs.
Sometimes, weather or other environmental conditions can cause an accident regardless of whether or not someone was under the influence of drugs and alcohol. If this was the case for your accident or the victim's bodily harm, you may not be responsible for the injuries sustained.
Contact a California Criminal Defense Attorney Today
Whatever the specifics of your DUI case, it's critical that you contact the law offices of Peter James Chambers as soon as possible. Getting a start on your defense strategy soon is important if you want the best chance of avoiding a conviction and getting back to your life. Contact us today for a free consultation.