Although you can face many severe penalties if you are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), the consequences of a DUI arrest with accident involvement can be far worse, particularly if a third party is injured in the accident. If you are facing a DUI charge involving an accident, it is essential that you get in touch with an experienced and qualified Santa Clara DUI lawyer as soon as you can. We even offer free case reviews, so contact us for yours today!
Penalties for DUI with Accident Involvement
Anyone charged with drunk driving that caused an accident resulting in the injury of a third party faces enhanced penalties. Often the driver will face a felony DUI charge instead of a misdemeanor DUI. Drunk driving with accident involvement and injury is described as follows in California Vehicle Code 23153:
“It is unlawful for any person, while under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug [or with a BAC of .08 or higher], to drive a vehicle and concurrently do any act forbidden by law, or neglect any duty imposed by law in driving the vehicle, which act or neglect proximately causes bodily injury to any person other than the driver.”
The injured person can be any other third party, including a passenger, a pedestrian, or someone who was in another vehicle. When a DUI offender injures only one other person, the driver faces an enhanced penalty that can be anywhere from 90 days to a year in county jail or 16 months to 3 years in state prison. An additional year in state prison can be added for each additional person injured. If someone dies as a result of the accident, the DUI offender may be sentenced to anywhere from 15 years to life in prison.
It should be noted that being in an accident does not necessarily mean you were at fault or that you are subject to the enhanced penalties of a felony DUI charge. It is possible that, even though you were intoxicated, you were in fact driving appropriately and did not cause the accident. If it is found that another driver actually caused the collision, you would then be guilty only of a misdemeanor DUI. In order to impose an enhanced sentence or a felony DUI charge, the District Attorney has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accident could have been avoided and was not avoided because you were driving drunk.
As experienced and skilled Santa Clara DUI lawyers, we have the knowledge to effectively handle these charges by creating skillful defenses involving accident reconstruction and independent toxicology analysis. We work with some of California's top accident reconstruction specialists and have a record of helping clients to avoid felony DUI charges. You need highly-skilled Santa Clara DUI attorneys on your side! You need the Santa Clara DUI law firm!