DUI Accidents and Injuries
In California, a driver that is charged with a DUI that results in an injury to someone else faces more serious penalties than a person charged with a DUI. These penalties are based on the fact that the individual’s decision to drive impaired caused injury to someone else.
If the injury caused by the driver is serious or fatal, the punishment for the impaired driver is more severe. The driver could be charged with a felony and face a lengthy jail sentence if convicted. If the injury is minor, the driver will likely get charged with a misdemeanor if it is the person’s first offense.
If a driver is involved in a DUI that results in an injury, there are a few things they need to know.
Injury Circumstances Matter
The penalties for drivers who are charged with a DUI that causes injury differ depending on mitigating circumstances, the driver’s prior history, and the severity of the injury they caused. Mitigating circumstances may reduce the punishment a driver faces because it sheds light on what might have caused the accident.
For example, if the driver was impaired due to lawfully prescribed medication, and the driver’s BAC is 0.08, the prosecutor may ask the judge for a minimum sentence instead of the maximum sentence. If a driver has a spotless driving record and is a first time offender, the prosecutor could also ask for a minimum sentence instead of the maximum sentence. The same thing applies if the injury caused by the driver is minor.
Prosecutors are unlikely to ask for a lenient sentence if the driver charged with the DUI has prior DUI convictions on their record, or if the driver caused serious injury or the death of another person.
What Are The Penalties Associated With A DUI Causing Injury Conviction?
The penalties a driver faces when a DUI results in an injury differ depending on whether the driver is charged with a felony or misdemeanor.
A misdemeanor charge may result in:
- Imprisonment in a county jail for a period of 5 days to 1 year.
- A fine ranging from $390 to $5,000.
- Suspension of the driver’s license for up to 3 years.
- 3 to 5 years of probation.
- Mandatory participation in a DUI program of 3, 18, or 30 months.
A felony charge may result in:
- Imprisonment in a state prison for a term of up to 10 years.
- An additional and consecutive one to six-year prison sentence if any victim suffers great bodily harm.
- An additional and consecutive one-year sentence for each additional person that suffers any injury.
- Fines ranging from $1,015-$5,000.
- Mandatory participation in an 18 or 30-month court-approved DUI school.
- A five-year revocation of the person’s California driver license.
- A “strike” on the driver’s record pursuant to California’s Three Strikes Law if anyone other than the driver suffers great bodily injury.
The penalties and fines a driver faces when charged with a DUI that causes an injury increase with subsequent offenses. Due to the serious nature of a DUI that results in an injury, any driver charged with the offense is advised to hire an Orange County DUI attorney to help them get the best possible outcome.
If you find yourself involved in a DUI accident that resulted in an injury, contacting a legal representative is your best course of action. Do not go to court without a proper DUI defense attorney. Your license, reputation, and personal freedom is on the line. Defend your rights today and call our offices.