DUI WITH INJURY ATTORNEY ORANGE COUNTY CA
Getting arrested for drunk driving in Orange County is a serious enough criminal offense on its own, but when you are involved in a DUI causing injury to another person, the stakes suddenly become significantly higher. DUI with injury cases are prosecuted and punished harshly in Orange County, and you can be convicted on charges of DUI with injury even if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was below the legal limit and the injuries suffered by the other party or parties involved in the accident were minor. If you are facing DUI with injury charges in Orange County or the surrounding counties, don’t hesitate to enlist the help of a top Orange County DUI defense law firm. Our DUI defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group have helped hundreds of Orange County residents get their drunk driving charges reduced or dismissed, and we will work tirelessly to help you get the best possible outcome in your DUI with injury case. Contact Seyb Law Group today for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Affordable Orange County DUI Defense Lawyer
Being charged with DUI causing injury can be extremely stressful and confusing, especially if you don’t have any experience with the California criminal justice system and aren’t sure of your rights under the law. At Seyb Law Group, we have more than 60 years of combined criminal defense experience and our attorneys have represented thousands of Orange County residents fighting drunk driving charges. We understand the importance of protecting your rights and if you hire our legal team, we will work tirelessly to help you get the best possible outcome in your DUI with injury case. In fact, we offer potential clients a free, confidential consultation, which means you can discuss your DUI with injury case with one of our knowledgeable Orange County DUI defense attorneys with no obligation to hire our firm. Let our criminal defense attorneys put their expertise to work for you. Consult Seyb Law Group today to protect yourself against DUI with injury charges.
DUI With Injury
Under Orange County drunk driving laws, a driver who causes injury to another person while driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs may be charged with a crime commonly called “DUI with injury” or “DUI causing injury.” Unfortunately, even if the other person injured in the DUI accident suffers only minor bumps and bruises, you can be charged with DUI with injury, a crime that is much more serious than simply driving under the influence.
California DUI with Injury Vehicle Code § 23153 (a) VC
California Vehicle Code § 23153 (a) VC is the law that sets forth the standard for the crime of DUI with injury in Orange County. This law reads:
“(a) It is unlawful for a person, while under the influence of any alcoholic beverage 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 a 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. . . . (e) It is unlawful for a person, while under the influence of any 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.
If you have been arrested for DUI with injury in Orange County, it is important that you are aware of the key components of this charge. First, for a driver to be convicted on charges of DUI with injury under Vehicle Code § 23153 VC, another person other than the driver must be injured in the accident. This can include a passenger in the driver’s vehicle, a driver or passenger in another vehicle, or a pedestrian, but it does not include the driver him/herself. In other words, you cannot be convicted of DUI with injury if you were the only person injured in the accident. Furthermore, DUI with injury charges can be brought against you even if your BAC was under 0.08% and the other person’s injuries were not serious.
Penalties for a DUI with Injury Conviction in Orange County
Under California Vehicle Code § 23153 VC, DUI with injury is a “wobbler” offense, which means it can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the specifics of the case, including the circumstances leading up to your arrest, the injuries sustained by the other driver, passengers or pedestrians involved in the DUI accident, and your previous criminal history. That being said, in almost all cases, an Orange County DUI with injury offense will be prosecuted as a felony. The following are the penalties typically associated with misdemeanor and felony DUI with injury cases in Orange County.
Orange County Misdemeanor DUI with Injury
- Five days to one year in county jail,
- Information probation for three to five years,
- Between $390 and $5,000 in fines,
- Restitution to the injured party or parties,
- A one- or three-year driver’s license suspension, and
- A three-, nine-, 18- or 30-month alcohol or drug education program (DUI school)
Orange County Felony DUI with Injury
- Two, three or four years in state prison (with an additional, consecutive three- to six-year prison sentence if any victim suffers great bodily injury, or an additional and consecutive one-year sentence for each additional person that suffers any injury – up to a maximum of three years),
- Between $1,015 and $5,000 in fines,
- A “strike” on your criminal record (see California’s “Three Strikes” Sentencing Law below) if anyone other than yourself suffers great bodily injury,
- A five-year revocation of your driver’s license,
- An 18- or 30-month alcohol or drug education program, and
- Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) status for three years.
An Orange County DUI conviction will remain on your record for 10 years and these types of crimes are priorable offenses, which means the punishment increases with each subsequent conviction. Furthermore, in most Orange County DUI with injury cases, the driver ends up being charged with other violations of DUI laws, and as a result, may face multiple convictions with additional penalties.
California’s “Three Strikes” Sentencing Law
Orange County is tough on DUI crimes, particularly those causing injury to or the death of another person, and there is a state law in effect in California called the “Three Strikes” sentencing law, which imposes stiffer penalties for defendants convicted of any new felony who have previously been convicted of one or more serious or violent felonies, known as “strike” priors. Under this law, a defendant with one “strike” prior convicted of a new felony DUI with injury would be sentenced to prison for twice the sentence otherwise assigned to a felony DUI with injury offense. A defendant with two or more “strike” priors convicted of a new felony DUI with injury would be sentenced to prison for a minimum of 25 years to life, with no time off for good behavior and no possibility of parole before the minimum 25 years is served.
Orange County DUI with Injury Defense
If you have been charged with a DUI causing injury in Orange County, you face potential consequences that could impact the rest of your life, which is why your first course of action when facing these charges should be to contact a skilled Orange County DUI defense attorney. Defending against DUI with injury charges is very much like defending against any drunk driving charge, with one important difference. When an Orange County drunk driving case involves an accident causing injury to another person, a good defense attorney will call upon an accident reconstruction expert to recreate the scene of the accident and determine whether it was your negligence that caused the other person’s injury, which would be a key component of the prosecution’s case. Without proof that your negligence, and not just the fact that you were under the influence, caused the injury, DUI with injury charges would not be appropriate. The charges would have to be reduced to an Orange County DUI.
The most important thing to remember in a DUI with injury case is that the burden of proof rests with the prosecution. What that means is this: in order to convict you of an Orange County DUI with injury, the prosecution must be able to prove the following, known as “elements of the crime”:
- You were violating state DUI laws;
- While doing so, you committed an illegal act or neglected to perform a legal duty; AND
- This illegal act or failure to perform a legal duty resulted in bodily injury to or the death of another person.
In order to prove that you violated Orange County DUI laws, the prosecution must show that you were:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol,
- Driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher, or
- Driving under the influence of drugs, or a combination of drugs and alcohol.
Keep in mind that if you were driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the DUI accident, the prosecution need only prove that you were driving with a BAC of 0.04% or higher, per California Vehicle Code 23152 (d) VC.
Best Defense Strategies in Orange County DUI with Injury Cases
The legal consequences of an Orange County DUI with injury conviction are significantly more severe than a simple DUI conviction, and if you are convicted of this crime in Orange County, your freedom and your future are quite literally on the line. No matter what crime you are facing, or how serious the other person’s injuries may be, you still have rights, and a knowledgeable Orange County DUI defense lawyer will know how best to protect your rights and what defense strategy to use to increase your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome in your criminal case. In order to defend you against DUI with injury charges, your attorney can raise any of the following defenses:
- You were not driving the vehicle at the time of the accident
- You were not under the influence of alcohol or drugs while you were driving
- There was no injury to another person
How Hiring a DUI Defense Attorney Can Help
Whether your Orange County DUI with injury offense is charged as a misdemeanor or felony crime, you will likely face significant penalties, possibly including jail time or imprisonment, fines, restitution to the injured party or parties, suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, and mandatory DUI classes, among other life-altering consequences. Not only are these DUI with injury penalties extremely serious on their own, but depending on the circumstances of your case, they can be imposed in addition to other punishments for DUI convictions that arise from the same incident. If you don’t hire an attorney with experience defending Orange County DUI with injury charges, you could find yourself facing multiple convictions and serving consecutive sentences. A reputable Orange County DUI defense lawyer will have the knowledge and experience necessary to expertly examine the allegations raised in the prosecution’s case and pose any possible challenges to the DUI charges. If these challenges are unsuccessful, a skilled DUI defense attorney can often negotiate with the prosecutor to have your charges reduced to a lesser offense or minimize the punishment assigned to your crime.
Contact Our Reputable DUI Defense Attorneys for Help
Most Orange County DUI accidents causing bodily injury or death are charged as felony offenses, which means if you find yourself facing such charges, you could end up being branded a convicted felon for the rest of your life, and the penalties of a DUI with injury conviction are significantly more devastating if you have one or more previous felony convictions on your record. If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI causing injury offense in Orange County, do not hesitate to protect your legal rights. Contact our passionate and aggressive DUI defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group as soon as possible to discuss your case.