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 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.
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.