Misdemeanor DUI With Injury in California

The letters DUI—driving under the influence—scream the end of one’s normal lifestyle and driving privileges. Even though ‘DUI with Injury’ or VC section 23153 in 1981 used to only prohibit people from driving who had a BAC level of 0.10%, today’s conviction requires a BAC level of 0.08% or higher. The BAC level 0.04% applies to people driving a commercial vehicle like a truck but will not apply to the vast majority of drivers who are charged with this offense.

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The higher your BAC and the types of injuries sustained by others involved will have a drastic impact on how your case should be handled and how much jail time you can expect to receive for your offense.

How Much Jail Time?

Jail time for a misdemeanor DUI with injury ranges from five days to one year in a county jail, depending upon the county, the case, and the amount set on bail.

Along with jail-time, first-time offenders experience what is known as informal probation or “summary” that lasts for three to five years before retaining full driving privileges again. In the worst occurrences, those convicted must wait three years before driving a motorized vehicle. In the best ones, one must wait only one year.

Some first-time and most second-time offenders are forced to endure a “Lookback” period where one must wait ten years before receiving full driving privileges again. This period mainly applies to multiple-time offenders, as driving under the influence cases are defined as “priorable,” meaning that the punitive damages in terms of time and money increase with more convictions.

On top of the jail time, summary period, and Lookback period, those convicted must also attend California DUI School for what could be a 3, 9, 18, or even 30-month alcohol education program.

Will I Be Fined and How Much?

The state and federal fines can be as low as $390 and as high as $5,000. The $390 cost may seem low but multiple fees are attached to it such as a $1,000 fee in penalty assessments with a sign-up for a $500 alcohol and drug program. However, second-time offenders and those who commit DUI felonies may even be coerced into providing fees higher than $10,000. Along with governmental fines, one also owes restitution to the injured party or parties. Basically, if you caused an accident and injured someone else while doing so or destroyed private or public property, you are responsible to pay all of those damages. Even with a good insurance plan, damages could put an individual in terrible debt.

Another fee, which comes with driving under the influence, is an attorney fee. Most attorney fees are just as horrendous as the fines themselves. You not only need a lawyer who will make sure that you are treated fairly by the judge but will also treat you fairly in terms of price. Luckily, our law firm provides a good rate and free initial consultations with our clients.

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Can I Avoid a Conviction?

A defendant that has been charged with driving under the influence still has rights no matter how bad his or her situation has become. The most basic and important right is one’s right to an attorney, and, with a DUI case, a criminal defense lawyer is the best way to avoid conviction or to lessen one’s sentence. The attorney will know how to find and present evidence along with witnesses through a close examination to prove that your case is not as devastating as it may first appear.

No matter how you have decided to handle your case, you will have to attend (or have your attorney attend) a DUI hearing. This hearing is known as a Violation Hearing, which is unlike any other type of criminal proceeding. The main difference is that a judge, not a jury, is the sole determiner of you being guilty or innocent and the one who decides what repercussions you must face if found guilty. At least with a jury, you have the opportunity to convince people like yourself of being not guilty. With a judge on the other hand, you need to convince him or her who have dealt with a thousand other cases exactly why you should be treated differently.

Prosecutors tend to look at these types of cases as easy for the main reason that they do not have to face the usual burden of proof in order to prove that you were drinking and driving. The main piece of evidence is what has been recorded by the police officer.

Good representation could be the determining factor as to whether or not you will have a successful case outcome. Attorneys with proven-track records will be in a better position to prove that your “DUI with Injury” following California’s vehicle code section 23153 should be prosecuted as a misdemeanor rather than a felony. If you think the consequences for a misdemeanor are bad, just imagine how much worse a felony DUI conviction would be. With a felony, driving under the influence conviction, one could face higher fines, three to six year jail sentence, a strike on CA’s three strike-law, Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) reputation for three years, and a five-year removal of your driver’s license.

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Facing DUI with injury charges in Orange County, Riverside, Los Angeles, or San Diego? One of our attorneys can help. Call (888) 250-2865 today to receive a free consultation from our experienced legal professionals.