In California, it is a crime to drive a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and cause bodily injury to someone else. DUI causing injury is a misdemeanor or felony depending on the facts of the case. Under VC 23153, it’s unlawful for any driver to do any of the following:
- While under the influence to concurrently drive a vehicle and break the law, or neglect a duty imposed by the law, and such act causes bodily injury to another person, including the driver’s passenger.
- While having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more, drive a vehicle and break the law, or neglect a duty imposed by the law, and such act directly causes bodily injury to someone else.
- While driving a commercial vehicle with a BAC of .04% or more, cause bodily injury to another person.
- While under the influence of drugs, or a combination of drugs and alcohol, to concurrently drive a vehicle and either break the law, or fail to perform a duty imposed by the law and directly cause bodily injury to another person.
For a charge under VC 23153 to lead to a conviction, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant: 1) violated California’s DUI laws, 2) while driving under the influence, broke another law, such as speeding or running through a red light or was otherwise negligent, and 3) the driver’s unlawful behavior or negligence caused the other person’s injuries.
How You Violate California’s DUI Laws
How do you know if you violated California’s DUI laws? You do so by driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol to the point where your ability to drive is impaired, by driving with a BAC of .08% or higher, or by driving under the influence of drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol.
What is the difference between a misdemeanor or a felony under VC Section 23153? It’s fact specific. For example, if you were driving buzzed and another driver rear-ended you at a light and your passenger suffered whiplash, you’ll probably be charged with a misdemeanor DUI with injury since you didn’t technically cause the accident.
On the other hand, if you were responsible for the accident and your passenger was hurt, you would likely be charged with a felony under Section 23153.
The penalties for a misdemeanor DUI with injury under §23153, include up to one year in jail and up to $5,000 in fines, whereas a felony DUI with injury is punishable by:
- Two to four years in prison
- 5 year driver’s license revocation
- Additional time if a victim suffered great bodily injury
- A strike under California’s three strikes law
- Up to $5,000 in fines
- DUI School (18-30 months)
- You would be given Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) status
If you were arrested for DUI causing bodily injury in Orange County, you NEED an aggressive defense. Call the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. for a free consultation with a Board Certified DUI defense specialist!