What Are the Penalties for DUI with an Injury?

What Are the Penalties for DUI with an Injury?

In California, DUI with injury convictions have different penalties depending on whether they are misdemeanors or felonies. Note that a first-time conviction for DUI causing injury could be argued as either a misdemeanor or felony, so legal representation will be very helpful in crafting your defense.

Keep reading to learn more about what penalties you may face for a misdemeanor or felony conviction for DUI with injury.

What Constitutes a DUI with an Injury?

To charge you with a DUI causing injury under California law, the prosecutor must prove that:

  • you drove a vehicle;
  • you were under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, drug, or both;
  • you acted illegally or neglected to perform a legal duty while driving; and
  • your illegal act or failure to perform a legal duty while driving caused serious bodily injury to another.

Misdemeanor and Felony Penalties

California regards DUI convictions according to a “lookback” period of 10 years. This means that the consequences of a California DUI with injury conviction vary depending on your case and whether it is your first or second DUI within the 10-year lookback period. With this in mind, California DUI offenses are “priorable,” which means that your punishment necessarily increases with each subsequent conviction.

Note that your first conviction for a DUI causing injury is a “wobbler” offense. With a wobbler offense, the prosecutor may charge the DUI as either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances of your case and your prior criminal history. However, be aware that unlike a non-injury DUI, a third DUI with injury offense is an automatic California felony DUI, not a misdemeanor DUI.

Misdemeanor Penalties

Misdemeanor DUI with injury under California law can result in a combination of the following penalties:

  • informal probation for 3 to 5 years;
  • 5 days to 1 year in a county jail;
  • between $390-$5,000 in fines;
  • enrollment in a court-approved alcohol or drug education program (“California DUI school”);
  • a 1- to 3-year suspension of your California driving privileges; and
  • financial restitution to any/all injured parties.

Felony Penalties

If you’ve been convicted for a felony DUI with injury, you might face 2, 3, or 4 years in state prison with:

  • an additional and consecutive 3- to 6-year prison sentence if any victim suffers great bodily injury, or an additional and consecutive 1-year sentence for each additional person who suffers any injury up to 3 years maximum;
  • a strike on your record pursuant to California’s Three Strike’s Law if anyone other than yourself suffers great bodily injury;
  • between $1,015-$5,000 in fines;
  • 18 or 30 months in a court-approved DUI school;
  • Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) status for 3 years; and
  • a 5-year revocation of your California driver’s license.

Note that you might be able to continue driving without limitation if you install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for 1 year or longer.

A charge for DUI causing injury is not to be taken lightly, as the consequences range from brief jail time and small fines to heftier jail time and a long-term revocation of your driver’s license. Further, if this is your first conviction for a DUI causing injury, it will be very helpful to hire legal representation, as an experienced lawyer could argue your “wobbler” offense is a misdemeanor charge at most, instead of a felony.

For more information, contact The Law Office of Brian C. Andritch today.

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