DUI with Injury

No one ever sets out driving with the intent to harm anyone. Nonetheless, the crime of DUI with injury carries extremely serious consequences. A person who has a family, career, and has been a law-abiding person his entire life may find himself suddenly facing felony charges. A person may fear that he stands to lose all the things he has worked so hard provide for himself and his loved ones.

DUI defense lawyer Richard M. Oberto has a track record of providing the best legal representation in cases of DUI with injury. His background in both criminal law and personal injury affords him special insight into the issues. Cases of DUI with injury may affect people from all walks of life. Mr. Oberto has experience helping people to protect their professional licenses.

Vehicle Code sections 23153(a) and 23153(b)

California law defines two types of offenses involving DUI with injury. Vehicle Code section 23153(a) makes it a crime to drive under the influence and cause injury to another person. Vehicle Code section 23153(b) makes it a crime to drive with a blood alcohol content of .08 or greater and cause injury to another person. Both offenses require more than a mere coincidence of DUI and injury. It is not enough that a person was driving under the influence or with a BAC of .08 or greater and happened to be involved in a motor vehicle accident that resulted in injuries. The prosecution must prove that the accused person caused the alleged injuries by committing an illegal act or failing to perform a legal duty. The element of causation in some cases may be a complex issue, requiring input from experts in accident reconstruction.

A case of DUI with injury also may present complex issues of forensic toxicology. Vehicle Code section 23153(a) requires proof of impairment. Vehicle Code section 23153(b) requires proof of a certain blood alcohol content. The issues of impairment and BAC frequently present complex scientific questions and require input from forensic toxicologists. Mr. Oberto has experience working with the best experts in the area.

Penalties for DUI with Injury

Vehicle Code sections 23153(a) and 23153(b) carry a maximum imprisonment term of 16 months or two or three years. Where more than one person suffered injuries, the accused person is subject to one year in jail for each additional person who suffered an injury. In addition to imprisonment, a person who has been convicted of felony DUI faces heavy fines and serious Driver’s License restrictions.

A person accused of felony DUI may be eligible for probation and a suspended sentence. A DUI with injury may be reduced in some cases to a misdemeanor by a judge or prosecutor. Even in probation and misdemeanor cases, the accused person is subject to a minimum of ninety days in jail. Mr. Oberto has extensive experience helping clients to arrange treatment programs so that they receive help instead of jail time.

Enhancements Allegations and Great Bodily Injury

A person who has been arrested for DUI with injury in some cases may face enhancement allegations for causing Great Bodily Injury. The enhancement substantially increases an accused person's potential term of imprisonment. It also elevates the felony offense of DUI with injury to a strike allegation under California's Three Strikes Law. Conviction for a strike offense restricts a person's probation eligibility, restricts a person's eligibility for time credits in prison, and has numerous other serious effects.

The law does not provide bright-line standards for what constitutes Great Bodily Injury. The injury must be physical in nature, must be “significant or substantial,” and must be greater than “minor or moderate harm.” Medical experts sometimes disagree with prosecution allegations that an injury met the legal standards for GBI. Mr. Oberto has experience working with medical experts who have been able to put injuries in a proper forensic perspective.

Attorney Richard M. Oberto can help

An allegation of DUI with injury can present frightening and unfamiliar issues for people. Mr. Oberto can provide expert guidance, expert perspective, and a strategic way forward.

Mr. Oberto welcomes people to contact him 24/7 at (559) 221-2557 to request an initial consultation. Se habla Espanol.

People also may contact Mr. Oberto to request an initial consultation using the contact form available on this website. Please do not use the contact form to write down sensitive information. Information communicated over the internet, including through this website, may not be considered confidential or privileged.

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