California law is more harsh to DUI cases if they involve accidents with injuries. The reasoning behind this is to punish and deter the most destructive behavior that can result from a DUI case. For most DUI cases (1st and 2nd DUI’s are the vast majority of DUI cases) the prosecution will charge the defendant under CVC 23152 as a misdemeanor. While a misdemeanor can carrying up to 1 year of county jail for each charge is no small matter, a felony charge for DUI involving injury is on a whole level more serious. DUI cases involving accidents with injuries can be charged as either misdemeanor or felony, depending on the nature of the accident and injuries.
CVC 23153: California’s Vehicle Code Section for DUI involving injury.
CVC 23153 makes it a serious crime in California to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol and injure someone as a result of an accident. Misdemeanor CVC 23153 can result in up to one year of jail time per charge (often DUI cases involve 2 charges depending on the paragraph of CVC 23153 the prosecution uses to prosecute) while felony DUI cases can involve prison terms of 3 to 5 years.
Great Bodily Injury cases: When CVC 23153 is charged as a felony.
DUI cases involving injury are treated as a felony if, as a result of the driver’s impairment, an accident proximately causes great bodily injury to people involved.
The two issues that stand out for defending “DUI involving injury” cases with the “GBI” allegations are:
– Was the accident caused by the impairment of the driver?
– Were the injuries sustained sufficient for a “great bodily injury” allegation to be established?
The prosecution has to prove that the accident caused injuries of a nature that the victim will suffer long term injury. Examples include:
-permanent nerve damage
-missing limbs, fingers or toes
Examples of injuries not sufficient for a GBI allegation:
-small cuts or bruises
A felony is the most serious crime a person can be charged with. In addition to harsh prison terms, a felony conviction has lifetime consequences for a defendant including:
-Impact on the person’s eligibility for jury duty
-Onerous parole or supervised probation
Defenses for DUI Involving Injury cases:
The defenses for DUI cases involving accidents and injuries are the same for “typical” DUI cases and depend heavily on the facts of the individual case. See more about defenses to DUI Involving Injury cases.