On August 20, six people were injured and one killed as the result of a crash that took place in Coronado. According to reports, two of the injured victims were children. The accident occurred on Silver Strand State Highway after a Jeep crossed the center line near Pomona Avenue, crashing into two vehicles driving in a southbound direction. One of those involved died at the scene before first responders arrived.
News reports claim police believe alcohol was a factor in the deadly crash. The driver of the Jeep who crossed the center line was said to be in critical condition at an area hospital at the time of reports.
Driving under the influence, or DUI, is a serious offense in California. However, when someone operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and causes a wreck in which someone sustains injuries or loses his or her life, the situation becomes far more serious. In this case, an individual may be charged with DUI causing injury according to California Vehicle Code 23153 VC. The prosecutor may charge this offense as a misdemeanor or felony; felony charges leave those found guilty facing harsher punishment.
Depending on whether you are charged with California Vehicle Code 23153(a) or 23153(b) which involves driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher, the penalties may include fines, jail or prison time, driver’s license suspension, probation, the attendance of a court-imposed alcohol program, DUI school, restitution and more.
Should the prosecutor charge you with a misdemeanor DUI with injury, the fine may be as much as $5,000 and jail time may be anywhere from five days to a maximum of one year. However, a third DUI causing injury is charged as a felony and will result in a fine of up to $5,000 and a prison term of between two and four years for those convicted. Additionally, a conviction will result in a 5-year driver’s license revocation and an additional three years in prison if any victim sustained serious or significant bodily injury.
Defending someone charged with DUI causing injury is very similar to defending an individual charged with driving under the influence; whether it can be proven the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol and whether the BAC was above the legal limit is critical to the outcome. In the event your BAC is below the legal limit of .08%, you may still be charged if police believe you cannot operate a vehicle safely because of the degree to which you may be impaired either physically or mentally.
Potential defenses include you were not under the influence of alcohol or any substance that could impact your ability to safely operate a vehicle, that you were not acting in a manner that would be considered negligent or breaking any laws, that tests indicating your BAC was .08% or above were inaccurate, or that injuries sustained by a person or persons were not caused by an unlawful act or negligence on your behalf.
All DUI offenses should be taken seriously, whether an accident occurred and someone was injured or not. If you have been charged with any DUI offense the most critical step you can take to protect your legal rights and freedom is to consult with a skilled Los Angeles DUI defense attorney.