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DUI with INJURY, VC 23153(a) and VC 23153(b)

DUI with Injury is a “wobbler” because it can be charged either as a felony or a misdemeanor. Like a normal DUI with NO injury, DUI with Injury is usually charged as 2 counts. The difference between the 1st count, VC 23153(a), and the 2nd count, VC 23153(b), is that under the first count, you were simply under the influence, but for the 2nd count, your blood-alcohol level was a .08% or above. Keep in mind that even if your blood-alcohol level was below .08%, you can still be found guilty on the 1st count, so you can still be found guilty of DUI with Injury even if you did not have a .08% blood-alcohol level.

The elements for both counts of DUI with Injury are similar, but the difference is in element 2 of each:

VC 23153(a) Elements:

  1. Defendant drove a motor vehicle
  2. Defendant did so while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage
  3. Defendant committed an illegal act or failed to perform a lawful duty
  4. The defendant’s illegal act or failure to perform a lawful duty was the cause of injury to a person other than the driver

VC 23153(b) Elements:

  1. Defendant drove a motor vehicle
  2. Defendant did so while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage and had a blood-alcohol level of .08% or above
  3. Defendant committed an illegal act or failed to perform a lawful duty
  4. The defendant’s illegal act or failure to perform a lawful duty was the cause of injury to a person other than the driver

Punishment for DUI with Injury, VC 23153 (a) and VC 23153(b)

THIS IS PUNISHMENT FOR A DEFENDANT’S FIRST DUI WITH INJURY CONVICTION. THE PUNISHMENT GOES UP WITH SUBSEQUENT CONVICTIONS.

If charged as a misdemeanor, the defendant faces a maximum of 1 year in county jail.

If charged as a felony, the defendant faces a maximum of 3 years in state prison. The punishment goes up with subsequent convictions.

Defenses Against a Charge of DUI with Injury

  1. You did not commit an illegal act or fail to perform a lawful duty, as in aside from being under the influence, you did not do anything that broke the law.

In this scenario, you were under the influence, but you did not make an illegal U-turn or run a red light.

2. Your illegal act or failure to perform a lawful duty was not the cause of the victim’s injury.

For example, you were under the influence and made an illegal move while driving and lightly scratched another person’s car, but right before that, someone had already been running toward the victim with a knife to rob them. In this scenario, you did drive while under the influence and commit an illegal act while driving, but your actions weren’t the cause of the victim’s injuries.

3. You were not driving.

If someone else was driving and fled the scene after an accident, and you’re the one left at the scene because you didn’t want to leave an injured person, you probably looked guilty but you did not commit DUI with Injury because you weren’t DRIVING the car. In order for you to be convicted of DUI with Injury, the prosecutor must prove that you actually DROVE the car.

 

DUI with Injury cases can get murky because they involve science (blood-alcohol level and injuries to the victim, as well as how the accident happened). Perhaps the driver left you at the scene because they did not want to get in trouble, or perhaps you actually did not make a mistake while driving and it was the other party’s fault that caused the injury. Call our firm and speak to an experienced DUI with Injury lawyer. We are experienced and will seek all available defenses in your criminal case. We are located in Orange County but also serve LA County, Riverside County, San Bernardino, and all of southern California. We can conduct business with our clients both in person and remotely. Our phone number is 213-235-7969 and we look forward to discussing your case with you.

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