How to defend a DUI involving accident case:
A DUI case involving an accident is probably the single worst type of DUI case in terms of not only the tragic human cost, but also the potential punishment an accused DUI driver faces and the effect an accident has on mounting a successful defense in a DUI case. Most DUI cases are prosecuted as misdemeanors in the state of California, but some cases are treated as felonies. (In fact, approximately 40% of ALL criminal prosecutions in California involve DUI in some way). DUI cases can (and often do) become felony cases when there is an accident involving serious injuries to accident victims.
CVC 23153: DUI involving an injury accident and how to best defend against this charge.
California’s Vehicle Code has a section dealing with DUI related accidents. CVC 23153(a) states:
“23153. (a) It is unlawful for a person, while under the influence
of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle and concurrently do any
act forbidden by law, or neglect any duty imposed by law in driving
the vehicle, which act or neglect proximately causes bodily injury to
any person other than the driver.”
As you can see, causing an accident while impaired is a serious crime in California.
Felony DUI: Great Bodily Injury and how to fight felony DUI charges
A DUI will be prosecuted as a felony when there is an accident, caused by the impairment of the drunk driver, that causes great bodily injury to someone other than the driver. If these conditions are met, a prosecutor in California can (and often will) charge a driver with felony DUI.
Accident caused by impairment:
In building a defense for a DUI related accident case, the first step is to determine if the accident was in fact caused by the impairment of the driver or caused by something else. For example, if a drunk driver is involved in a collision that was actually caused by someone else, a felony DUI cannot be charged. A common example of this goes like this: A driver has a few drinks at a bar and leaves to drive home. While driving home, another driver runs a red light and causes a serious collision at an intersection with serious injures effecting several people. Even though this situation involved a drunk driver, an accident and seriously injured people, the driver will not face felony DUI charges because his impairment did not cause the collision: the other driver did. In a felony DUI cases, this is a very strong defense that can be used to help the driver facing felony DUI charges.