Drivers in California are not legally permitted to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Individuals who drive under the influence can face harsh legal penalties. These penalties will increase if the driver injures someone while driving under the influence.
The state uses California Vehicle Code Section 23153: DUI Causing Injury to prosecute these cases. Let the Simmrin Law Group help you understand this charge today.
The Legal Definition of VC 23153
The court system in California uses VC 23153 to prosecute drivers who:
- Operate a Vehicle While Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol AND
- Perform Some Kind of Illegal Act WHICH
- Causes an Injury to Another Person
DUI causing injury charges may be tied to other DUI offenses in California. This means that drivers may also end up charged with:
- California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a): Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
- California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b): Driving with a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.08 Percent or Higher
Drivers who cause especially severe accidents while intoxicated may face harsher charges, including:
- California Vehicle Code Section 191.5(a): Gross Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated
- California Vehicle Code Section 191.5(b): Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated
- California Vehicle Code Section 187: DUI Murder
A DUI lawyer in Los Angeles can help drivers who are facing charges for driving offenses involving alcohol or drugs.
Penalties for a VC 23153 Conviction
Drivers may be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony if they cause an injury while driving under the influence.
Misdemeanor DUI Causing Injury
Generally, drivers may be charged with a misdemeanor if they are:
- First-Time Offenders
- Offenders with Only One Previous DUI in a 10 Year Period
A misdemeanor conviction can lead to:
- Fines: Up to $5,000
- Jail Time: Up to 1 Year
- Probation: Up to 5 Years
- Driver’s License Suspension: Up to 3 Years
Felony DUI Causing Injury
Drivers with two or more previous DUI charges in a 10-year period are more likely to be charged with a felony. A felony conviction for DUI causing injury can result in:
- Fines: Up to $5,000
- Prison Time: Up to 4 Years
- Driver’s License Revocation: Up to 5 Years
Note that the court may increase prison time in certain situations. Drivers may have their sentences increased by:
- 1 Additional Year for Every Person that Suffers an Injury
- Up to 6 Years if Someone Experiences a Great Bodily Injury
Additionally, both misdemeanor and felony DUI causing injury charges can require a driver to attend DUI school for up to 30 months.
Drivers can get help facing VC 23153 charges by contacting a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles as soon as they are charged.
Examples of DUI Causing Injury Accidents
Strengthen your understanding of VC 23153 charges with these examples:
Driver A has a few drinks at a bar and then decides to go home. On the way, he runs a red-light and hits another vehicle, injuring the driver and her children. He could be charged with a DUI causing injury.
Driver B decides to unwind by enjoying a cocktail and then gets an emergency call. He jumps in his car and speeds off to help. On the way, he is hit by another vehicle and the accident results in injuries. Since the accident is not his fault, he may not face VC 23153 charges, though he can still be charged with a DUI.
Defenses for VC 23153 Charges in California
There are some legal defenses that can be used to successfully resolve DUI causing injury charges. A criminal defense lawyer may be able to show that:
You Were Not Intoxicated at the Time of the Accident
Sometimes, drivers are falsely accused of driving under the influence. Breathalyzers and other chemical tests can return false positives. A criminal defense lawyer may be able to challenge the assertion that you were driving under the influence at the time of the accident, which could shift the charges you are facing.
You Did Not Cause the Accident or the Injuries
You should not be convicted under VC 23153 if you were not responsible for causing a collision. Many drivers are falsely blamed for accidents caused by someone else. A criminal defense lawyer can dig into your case to assess the facts surrounding your collision.
Get Help Handling DUI Causing Injury Charges
California Vehicle Code Section 23153: DUI Causing Injury charges can lead to high fines and years of incarceration. The professionals at the Simmrin Law Group can help build your defense against these charges. Contact our criminal defense lawyers to get a FREE case evaluation today.
You can reach us by completing our online contact form or calling (310) 997-4688.