Ventura DUIs Resulting in Serious Personal Injury
While most Ventura DUIs are charged under Vehicle Code (“VC”) Section 23152, DUIs that involve an accident resulting in personal injury are charged under VC Section 23153. This is significant because charges under Section 23153 carry increased fines, incarceration and other penalties. In addition, they are classified “wobblers,” meaning that the District Attorney can choose to prosecute them either as misdemeanors or as felonies. In Ventura County, cases involving serious personal injuries will virtually always be prosecuted as felonies.
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs Causing Injury
VC Section 23153 provides as follows:
(a) It is unlawful for any person, while under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug . . . to drive a vehicle and concurrently do any act forbidden by law, or neglect any duty imposed by law in driving the vehicle, which act or neglect proximately causes bodily injury to any person other than the driver.
(b) It is unlawful for any person, while having 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle and concurrently do any act forbidden by law, or neglect any duty imposed by law in driving the vehicle, which act or neglect proximately causes bodily injury to any person other than the driver.
There are a couple of important points to note here: First, like VC Section 23152, this Section covers cases where both (i) you were “driving under the influence,” regardless of your BAC; and, (ii) your BAC was 0.08% or above, regardless of whether it had any impact on your ability to drive. Second, in addition to having alcohol or drugs in your system, in order to be guilty under this Section you must have engaged in some conduct other than DUI that puts you at fault in the accident.
Defending “DUI with Injury” Charges Under VC Section 23153
There are numerous possible defenses to a “DUI with injury” charge in Ventura County. In addition to the DUI defenses available in non-injury cases, a defense often raised under VC Section 23153 is that the prosecution is unable to prove that you were at fault in actually causing the injury. If another driver or some other factor may have caused the accident, then you cannot be found guilty under VC Section 23153. While the police and prosecutors will often assume that you were to blame if you were “under the influence” or had a BAC of 0.08% or above at the time of the accident, intoxication alone is insufficient to establish the necessary “causation” for criminal culpability.
If your DUI with injury is charged as a felony, we will typically seek to have your charge reduced to a misdemeanor. If the prosecution lacks evidence to establish a violation of VC Section 23153, your charges will likely be reduced to an “ordinary” DUI under VC Section 23152(a) or 23152(b).
Penalties for DUIs Involving Serious Injury
Click here for information about the possible penalties for “DUI with injury” convictions under VC Section 23153.
Free Consultation with an Experienced Ventura DUI Lawyer
If you are facing DUI charges arising out of an accident that resulted in someone else being injured, you need the representation of an experienced Ventura DUI attorney who can help you minimize the consequences of your arrest. Ventura DUI attorney David Lehr has handled thousands of DUI cases, and he knows what it takes to successfully defend charges under VC Section 23153. To schedule a free consultation with Mr. Lehr about your case, please contact us today.