DUIs Causing Injuries Orange County

Being charged with DUI in any situation is serious enough. If it involves causing an accident and injuries to another person, the problems you face will escalate.

With a DUI causing injuries in Orange County, potential penalties for a conviction may include sentencing enhancements that extend the amount of jail time and make a plea bargain less likely. 

The prosecution is likely to push for the harshest possible penalties. However, that does not mean that all hope is lost. 

At The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian, we believe that even if the evidence against you seems overwhelming, you may be able to escape the most serious consequences with our experienced Orange County DUI lawyers. 

We are ready to defend you or a loved one against a charge of DUI causing injuries.

What is DUI causing injury?

DUI causing injuries is a specific category of DUI charge that is set out in California’s VC 23153.

This charge is applied where bodily injury to another person (driver, pedestrian, or another road user) results from the actions of the DUI defendant.

Note that you can be convicted on a charge of DUI with injuries even if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was below the legal limit and the other party (or parties) only suffered minor injuries.

Arrest and investigation process for DUI causing injury

When an accident occurs on the roads in Orange County, the police are usually notified. If bodily injury occurs, law enforcement must be called and this is where an investigation into the traffic collision generally begins.

If a police officer believes that one of the drivers may be intoxicated, there may be probable cause to arrest the individual. The police officer may also request field sobriety tests and/or a blood alcohol test to determine the driver’s BAC level.

If the officer determines that an arrest is warranted, the individual will be arrested and booked at the local police station in Orange County. 

Refusal to submit to a chemical test of either your blood or breath after your arrest may lead to additional penalties for an alleged DUI offense.

Once bail is paid, the individual will be released on the condition that they appear at future court proceedings. The arrested individual usually receives a temporary license which remains valid for 30 days.

The California DMV may suspend a driver’s license separately from the criminal proceedings. A DMV hearing can be requested up to 10 days after an arrest to challenge the validity of the suspension by way of a DMV Administrative Per Se Hearing.

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During the consultation, we will help you understand your rights and the charges against you.

What do prosecutors need to secure a conviction for DUI causing injury?

Prosecutors will need to prove the following three elements to achieve a conviction in a DUI causing injury case:

1.  The accused violated California’s law on DUI

California’s DUI laws make it illegal to drive while under the influence of alcohol or with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher. For drivers of commercial vehicles, the BAC limit is 0.04 percent.

Being under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs (even prescription drugs for a medical condition) does cause physical and/or mental impairment that makes it impossible to drive a vehicle safely and is, therefore, illegal. This means that you may still be prosecuted for a DUI causing injury even if your blood alcohol percentage was below 0.08 percent and you were driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. 

2.  The accused was guilty of negligent or unlawful driving

If the prosecutor can prove that the accused acted negligently or violated a law besides DUI, this is the second element required for a conviction of DUI causing injury.

Negligent driving may include speeding or ignoring traffic lights amongst other law violations. 

3.  Unlawful driving or negligence caused injuries to a third party

Prosecutors will also need to prove that the third party’s injuries were caused directly by the negligent driving of the accused. This is normally the simplest element of the three to prove.

Penalties for DUI causing injury

DUI causing injury is considered a “wobbler” offense in California, meaning that it can be prosecuted either as a misdemeanor or a felony.

How it is prosecuted will depend mainly on the circumstances leading to your arrest, the injuries sustained by the other road user, and your criminal history, especially if you have previously been convicted of a DUI-related offense.

Penalties for a misdemeanor conviction for DUI with injury 
  • Five days to one year in county jail
  • Probation for three to five years
  • Fines of $390-$1,000 plus penalty assessments (and court fees)
  • Restitution to the injured party or parties
  • A one- or three-year driver’s license suspension
  • 3, 6, 9, 18, or 30-month DUI program
Penalties for a felony DUI with injury conviction 
  • Five days to four years in state prison 
  • Fines of $390-$1,000 plus penalty assessments (and court fees)
  • A “strike” on your criminal record if a third party suffers great bodily injury
  • Up to five-year revocation of your driver’s license
  • 3, 6, 9,  18, or 30-month DUI program

Note that if you are convicted of another DUI within ten years, the punishments will be even greater than those detailed.

Harsher penalties may also apply if there are further aggravating circumstances, such as speeding, refusing a chemical breath/blood test, driving with a BAC of 0.15 percent or higher, or if a child under the age of 14 is in the vehicle at the time.

Generally speaking, the more serious the injury, the longer the proposed jail term. The majority of DUI cases with great bodily injury in Orange County are prosecuted as felonies in addition to drivers facing other charges.

Your future is, therefore, at risk making it even more important to seek experienced counsel about your legal options.

Defenses for DUI causing injury

A skilled Orange County DUI defense lawyer will look at the available evidence, examine closely what happened during and after your arrest, and build a defense that provides the best possible outcome for whatever the circumstance.

Some common defenses include:

  • Violation of constitutional rights
  • The accused was not driving the vehicle at the time of the accident
  • The accused was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs while driving
  • There was no injury to the other person

Do California’s “Three Strikes” sentencing laws apply for DUI causing injury?

A conviction for DUI causing injury in the state of California could be considered a “strike” and could also be affected by any prior “strikes” on your record. California’s “Three Strikes” sentencing laws impose harsher penalties for crimes committed by anyone with a prior conviction for one or more serious or violent felonies (“strike” priors).

A defendant with one strike usually receives double the sentence otherwise applicable for the offense and a third strike could result in a prison commitment for a minimum of 25 years to life.

Been charged with DUI causing injuries in Orange County? 

If you or someone you care about has been charged with DUI causing injuries in Orange County, call The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian today or start with an online consultation now.

We have offices in Santa Ana, Westminster, Newport Beach and Fullerton to serve clients with matters heard at the Central, West, Harbor, and North Justice Centers, respectively, for all of Orange County.  The lawyers at The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian are here to help!  Book an online consultation to get started today.
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