The offense of DUI is simply driving under the influence. However, there is a number of different classifications of offenses related to DUI as an illegal activity. If you happen to be pulled over by a police officer, generally this will result in a regular DUI charge. However, if while driving under the influence you cause injury to another person, the offense is elevated to DUI with Injury. When this happens to you, the help of our skilled San Diego DUI defense attorneys is critical to your future.
What is a California DUI With Injury Charge?
DUI with injury is classified under California law as a “wobbler” offense. This means that the prosecutor has the option to proceed with the charge as a misdemeanor or as a felony. The decision to go with the more serious offense will depend on the following factors:
- The facts surrounding your particular case; and
- Your past criminal convictions with a particular attention to your DUI offenses.
Whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony, the offense is committed when the following elements are present:
- You were caught driving a vehicle under the influence. Generally, individuals will equate influence with alcohol; however, the law prohibits both alcohol and drugs for purposes of the charge.
- You were negligent in the way in which you were driving while under the influence or you broke some other law.
- As a result of your negligent driving or illegal behavior, someone was injured.
Penalties for a California DUI With Injury Conviction
The penalties associated with the offense of DUI with injury will vary. The court will consider the particular facts in your case, and the severity of your sentencing will also depend on your previous DUI convictions.
Additionally, whether the offense is charged as a felony or a misdemeanor will significantly determine the sentencing outcome. For misdemeanor DUI with injury, you can face penalties varying from fines to a maximum of 1 year in jail. A court may also order probation, enrollment in an education program, and compensation to the injured individual. Like all other DUI convictions, you will also face suspension of your driving license, ranging from one to three years.
If the matter proceeds as a felony, the penalties will be more intense and may include the following:
- Prison time ranging from 2 to 4 years, with time added for every additional person injured and whether such injury can be classified as a great bodily injury
- A possible strike on your record
- Fines with a maximum of $5,000
- Enrollment in a DUI school
- Declared a habitual traffic offender
- Revocation of your driving license for 5 years
Accordingly, jail time is possible if convicted of DUI with injury and you will need an experienced San Diego DUI defense lawyer who can prepare a strong defense.
Defending a California DUI With Injury Charge
Everyone charged with an offense is innocent until proven guilty. It is up to the prosecution to prove that guilt. Like other criminal matters, the law allows you to put forward a defense if your matter goes to trial. Your lawyer will be the person who will be able to advise you on what defenses may work in your case.
In order to convict you, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving under the influence. The absence of this factor or a breach in the procedure in obtaining this information can be a strong defense. A lawyer with adequate experience can present evidence to prove that you were not impaired or that your BAC was not accurately measured at the time of your arrest and charge.
Additionally, the link between your actions and the resulting injury can form the basis of your defense. If the injury or accident causing the injury resulted from external factor, other than your negligent or illegal actions, an accident reconstruction expert can give evidence of this in court in your defense.
Don’t leave your case up to chance. Have a frank and detailed discussion with your attorney. With the right experience and professional support team, you lawyer can research and prepare your defense to a DUI with injury charge.
Call a Qualified San Diego DUI Defense Lawyer Today
At McElfresh Law, we are lawyers who have chosen the path of providing high-quality criminal defense representation. For years, we have helped people charged with criminal offenses in California. We pride ourselves on our years of experience and our knowledge of the law, which is critical to a favorable outcome in court.
Don’t wait for your matter to go to trial. At McElfresh Law, we have worked to get charges dismissed or lowered in many cases. Getting a lawyer as soon as you are charged is critical to the effective preparation of your case. Call us today at (858) 756-7107 and let us be on your side for your DUI with injury case.