San Diego DUI with Injury Attorney
In California, there is a vast difference in being charged with a simple DUI (driving under the influence) and being charged with a DUI causing injury. While both are quite serious, those convicted of a DUI causing injury face much harsher penalties.
This area of law falls under California’s Vehicle Code 23153VC. If you have been charged with either crime, it is important that you speak to a California criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The Law Offices of James N. Dicks is amply qualified to handle your DUI case, so call us today at (760) 630-2000.
Proving DUIs Causing Injury in California
In a regular DUI case, the prosecution must prove that:
- You were driving a vehicle, and
- You were affected by drugs and/or alcohol.
In order to prove a DUI causing injury, the prosecution must be able to prove that the injuries were associated with the accident and that you neglected to drive responsibly.
For example, imagine that you had too many drinks at a concert and then drove home. During the drive, someone rear-ended you and subsequently, he or she was hurt. You could be charged with a DUI if your blood alcohol level was above 0.08%, but because you did not cause the accident, it is unlikely that you would be charged with a DUI causing injury.
However, if you were driving home after the same concert after having a few too many drinks, and you rear-ended someone and a person in the other car was hurt, you could be charged with a DUI causing injury. You must have been negligent or acted irresponsibly, in addition to driving under the influence, in order to be charged with such a crime. That negligence must also have caused injury to another person.
It is important to note that the person injured does not have to be a passenger or driver in another vehicle. In fact, if a passenger in your vehicle becomes injured because of an accident that you caused or contributed to while under the influence, he or she may still file a lawsuit against you. And because there were injuries present, the prosecution can still press charges even if the injured party does not wish to.
Penalties for DUI Causing Injury
When you have harmed another person by driving under the influence, you face much harsher penalties than a regular DUI.
The sentence handed down by the court will depend on the facts of the specific case and whether or not the driver had any previous DUIs within the last ten years. This is sometimes referred to as a "lookback period." Because DUI offenses in California are priorable, each conviction will result in a heavier penalty the next time.
Having a prior history of DUIs causing injury is even more serious. When a person is convicted of a DUI causing injury for a third time within the same ten-year period, it becomes an automatic felony in the state of California instead of a misdemeanor. If convicted, you would be a registered felon.
We Can Help Protect Your Rights
If you have been charged with a DUI causing injury, it is important that you speak to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. This charge is serious and, if you are convicted, can have a drastic impact on your freedom and reputation. A qualified attorney with years of experience, from the Law Offices of James N. Dicks, can help protect your rights and give you the best chance of a successful outcome. Call us today at (760) 630-2000 to speak to a San Diego DUI attorney today.