DUI Causing Injury
California Vehicle Code 23153 – DUI Causing Injury
The crime of “DUI causing injury” is covered under California Vehicle Code 23153. In basic terms, if you drive under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs and then cause physical harm to someone else, you could be convicted for a DUI causing injury offense. It’s important to note that driving under the influence under this statute includes Vehicle Code 23152(a) driving under the influence; Vehicle Code 23152(b) driving with blood alcohol content (BAC) at 0.08% or higher; or Vehicle Code 23152(f) driving under the influence of drugs, which could include prescription drugs. Los Angeles County prosecutors can file the case as either a misdemeanor or felony offense.
It should be noted the difference between “driving under the influence” and “with a BAC of 0.08% or greater.” Driving under the influence includes both alcohol and drugs and the prosecutor has to be able to prove your physical and mental abilities were impaired. The with a BAC of 0.08% or greater refers to the amount of alcohol found in your blood. If this amount of alcohol is found in your blood, you will be automatically charged with a DUI in spite of how you were driving your vehicle.
A common example of a DUI causing injury offense includes a situation where someone is driving home from a bar with a blood alcohol content higher than .08 percent. While driving, he runs through a red light and crashes into another vehicle that caused injury to the other driver.
If you have been accused of DUI causing injury that violated Vehicle Code 231532, you should contact our Los Angeles DUI lawyers at the Goldstein Law Group. We need to closely examine the details of your case to plan an effective strategy to obtain the best possible outcome on your case. Let’s take a closer look at the legal definition, penalties, related offenses, and defenses below.
Legal Definition of DUI Causing Injury
California Vehicle Code 23153 generally describes DUI causing injury as follows:
It’s unlawful for anyone, while under the influence of alcoholic, having 0.08 percent or more by weight of alcohol in their blood, or while under the influence of any drug, to drive a vehicle and do an act forbidden by law, neglect a duty imposed by law in driving the vehicle, which act causes bodily injury to someone else other than the driver.
Elements of the Crime – DUI Causing Injury
In order for the Los Angeles County prosecutor to convict you of DUI causing injury in violation of California Vehicle Code 23153(a) or California Vehicle Code 23153(b), they must be able to prove, beyond any reasonable doubt, the following elements of the crime listed under CALCRIM Jury Instructions 2100 or 2101:
- You were driving a vehicle
- While driving, you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or
- While driving, you had a blood alcohol content or 0.08% of higher
- While DUI, you committed an illegal act or neglected to perform a legal duty
- Your act or negligence caused injury to someone else
It’s important to make note that for commercial drivers, the prosecutor only has to prove you were driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.04% or greater.
It’s also important to note that being “under the influence” in context of the law for DUI causing injury means your physical or mental abilities were impaired at a level where you didn’t have an ability to drive your vehicle with the same characteristic of caution a sober person would drive. Finally, it should also be noted that driving under the influence of drugs includes any prescription drugs you may be taking.
Legal Penalties for DUI Causing Injury
If you are convicted of DUI causing injury in violation of California Vehicle Code 23153, it’s a “wobbler” and the legal penalties will depend on the specific facts of your case and how many prior convictions you have for DUI offenses.
If you are a first-time offender or have one prior DUI conviction within the past 10, a DUI causing injury offense will normally be charged as a misdemeanor crime that carries up to one year in county jail, informal probation up to 5 years, a fine up to $5,000, victim restitution, DUI class, and a three-year suspension of driver’s license by the California DMV.
If you are convicted of a felony DUI with injury under Vehicle Code 23153, it carries up to four years in a California state prison, a fine up to $5,000, an extra one year per victim who sustained an injury, an extra 3-6 years per victim who sustained great bodily injury (GBI), DUI school, victim restitution, Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) status for 3 years, a strike on your record under California three strikes law, and a five-year revocation of your driver’s license by the California DMV.
Related Offenses for VC 23153 DUI Causing Injury
California Vehicle Code 23152(a) – Driving Under the Influence
California Vehicle Code 23152(b) – Driving with Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) at 0.08% or higher
California Vehicle Code 23152(f) – Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
California Vehicle Code 20001 – Felony Hit and Run
California Vehicle Code 20002 – Misdemeanor Hit and Run
California Penal Code Section 191.5 – Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated
Legal Defenses for DUI Causing Injury
Our Los Angeles DUI lawyers can use a wide range of potential legal defense strategies to defend you against charges of DUI causing injury under California Vehicle Code 23153. Every case is unique and will first require a close review of the facts and circumstances. However, the most common legal defenses include the following:
You didn’t cause the bodily injury to the victim – In some cases, we may be able to argue you were not directly responsible for the bodily injury of another person even if you were driving under the influence. Perhaps the adverse weather conditions were responsible for causing the accident, not an act of negligence on your behalf. It may be possible to have your charges reduced to Vehicle Code 23152, driving under the influence.
You blood alcohol content (BAC) was not 0.08% – In some cases, our lawyers may be able to challenge the accuracy of your chemical tests using a variety of strategies that show the unreliability of certain tests. For example, DUI blood tests errors are not uncommon and frequently used by experienced lawyers to show blood contamination or improper storage of your blood sample.
Contact our DUI Lawyers for Help
If you have been accused of any type of driving under the influence offense, including DUI causing injury, you should contact our experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyers at the Goldstein Law Group as soon as possible. Our lawyers have decades of combined experience and will work aggressively to obtain the best possible outcome on your case. We serve clients throughout Los Angeles County from our Hollywood Office located at 1645 Vine St #809 Los Angeles, CA 90028. Contact our law firm at 323-461-2000.
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