In California, a traditional DUI is usually hiked up to a more serious charge if the drunken driver caused bodily harm to another.
Though many DUI causing injury offenses are charged as felonies, prosecutors have the discretion to decide whether to prosecute a DUI involving injury as a misdemeanor or a felony.
Elements of the Charge
A DUI in California is usually hiked up to a more serious charge if the driver causes bodily harm to another. However, prosecutors have the discretion to decide whether to prosecute a DUI involving injury as a misdemeanor or a felony.
To convict you of a DUI causing injury charge in Los Angeles, the prosecution has to prove that:
- You were driving under the influence,
- You committed an illegal act or neglected to perform a legal duty, and
- Another person was injured as a result.
In California, prosecutors have to demonstrate that the person charged with the DUI actually caused the injury in question.
Causation is therefore a major point of contention in DUI causing injury cases. Breaking up the chain of causation (called attenuation) between the drunken driver and the injury is often used as a way to successfully defend against the charge.
For example, if a DUI defendant can show the other driver ran into her while she was stopped at a stop sign, then the causation element is lacking. As a result, the defendant will only face a traditional DUI misdemeanor.
The consequences for a DUI that caused an injury can be pretty rough. Since it's considered a "wobbler" offense, a DUI causing injury charge can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor depending on the facts of your individual case.
These penalties can be even harsher if the defendant has prior convictions. In California, a drunken driver will face a felony DUI if the driver has multiple prior convictions for the offense within a certain period of time.
If you want to learn more about what entails a DUI causing injury charge, it might be helpful to consult an experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney.