The Crime of Driving Under The Influence Causing Injury - VC 23153
The crime of DUI causing injury is described under California Vehicle Code 23153 VC. This statute makes a driving under the influence more serious in a situation where another person was injured.
VC 23153 is generally described as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and then causing physical harm to someone.
This DUI offense is a California “wobbler,” meaning the prosecutor has the discretion to file the case as either a misdemeanor or felony crime.
In California, driving under the influence is covered under the following statutes:
- Vehicle Code 23152(a) - driving under the influence
- Vehicle Code 23152(b) - driving with blood alcohol content 0.08%, or more
- Vehicle Code 23152(f) - driving under the influence of drugs, which also includes any type of prescription drugs.
What is the Definition of VC 23153 DUI Causing Injury?
California Vehicle Code 23153 VC defines driving under the influence causing injury:
- “It's unlawful for any person, while under the influence of alcoholic or drug, or having .08% of alcohol in their blood, to drive a vehicle and do an act forbidden by law, or neglect any duty imposed by law, which act or neglect causes bodily injury to any person other than the driver.”
In other words, Vehicle Code 23153 is an aggravated form of a regular driving under the influence offense.
What Does Must Be Proven for a DUI Causing Injury Conviction?
In order for a prosecutor to convict you of violating Vehicle Code 23153 VC, they must be able to prove several factors.
These factors are known as the elements of the crime (CALCRIM 2100):
- You were driving a motor vehicle
- While driving, you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or
- Committed an illegal act or were negligent to perform a duty
- Your illegal act or negligence caused bodily injury to someone
In order to be convicted of VC 23153(a), it must be proven you lacked the ability to drive with the ordinary caution of a sober driver.
In order to be convicted of Vehicle Code 23153(b), it will depend on the determination that you caused injury with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or above while driving.
It's worth noting that proof of bad driving is not required for a conviction under VC 23153(b).
In most cases, both VC 23153(a) and VC 23153(b) are alleged by the prosecutor when they file charges against someone for violating Vehicle Code 23153 VC.
In simple terms, under California Vehicle Code 23153 VC, you have to either break the law, or act in a negligent manner, in addition to driving under the influence that caused an injury to someone.
What are the Penalties for VC 23153 DUI Causing Injury?
As stated above, a Vehicle Code 23153 VC case can be filed by the prosecutor as either a misdemeanor or felony crime, which is called a “wobbler.”
Their decision on how to file the case depends on:
- The specific facts and circumstances of the case
- Whether you have any prior DUI convictions
If convicted on a VC 23153 misdemeanor DUI causing injury, the penalties include:
- Minimum five days or up to one year in county jail
- Fines between $390 up to $5,000
- Alcohol or drug education program
- Driver's license suspension
- SCRAM bracelet
In convicted of a felony VC 23153 prosecution, the penalties include:
- Two, three, or four years in a California state prison
- Fines between $1,015 up to $5,000
- Up to a 30 month DUI school
- Revocation of driver's license
- Habitual traffic offender status
- Victim restitution
If the victim sustained a great bodily injury (GBI), there is a:
- Consecutive 3-6 six-year prison sentence, or
- A “strike” on your record under California's Three Strikes Law
Also, there is a consecutive one-year sentence for each additional person who suffered an injury.
What are the Related California Offenses for Vehicle Code 23153 VC?
- Vehicle Code 20001 VC – felony hit and run
- Vehicle Code 14601.4 VC - driving on a suspended license injury
- Penal Code 191.5(a) – gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated
- Penal Code 191.5(b) – vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated
- Penal Code 192(c) - vehicular manslaughter
How Can I Fight VC 23153 DUI Causing Injury Charges?
If you were charged with DUI causing injury, our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers can use a range of common defenses, including:
- Inaccurate chemical test
- Violation of constitutional rights
- You didn't cause the injury to other person
We might be able to argue the chemical test administered was not accurate due to poor calibration or maintenance or improper technique by the officer performing the test.
We might also be able to make an argument the initial contact with police was in violation of your constitutional rights against unreasonable search and seizure.
In the case of a blood test, we might be able to get the court to allow independent testing that might show the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was actually lower.
Due to the fact there is a substantial difference between a Vehicle Code 23153 VC misdemeanor or felony filing, prefiling intervention by our criminal lawyers before the case is formally filed in court is crucial.
As stated, the filing deputy district attorney has the discretion to either allege a the DUI causing injury case as a felony or a misdemeanor.
If our criminal defense lawyers are retained early in the criminal court process, we can negotiate with law enforcement and the filing deputy prosecutor to in an attempt to persuade them to file the case as misdemeanor rather than a felony.
A prefiling intervention will focus on mitigating factors surrounding the defendant:
- Background, character, reputation, accomplishments, and
- Collateral consequences if convicted of a felony
- Any efforts at rehabilitation, such as alcohol treatment
- Demonstration of remorse
- Payment of restitution up front
- Minor nature of the alleged injuries
In many cases, an aggressive prefiling intervention position is successful in convincing the prosecutor to proceed with misdemeanor rather than felony charges.
Contact Eisner Gorin LLP for Help with DUI Causing Injury Charges
DUI causing injury is a serious criminal offense that could lead to harsh consequences.
If you or a family member was arrested for driving under the influence causing injury in violation of Vehicle Code Section 23153, contact our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers for an initial consultation.
We can provide advice moving forward and will work to protect your rights. In some cases, we might be able to get the charges reduced in order to avoid the serious penalties for a felony conviction.
Eisner Gorin LLP is a top-ranked criminal defense law firm located at 1875 Century Park E #705, Los Angeles, CA 90067.
Our main San Fernando Valley office is located at next to the Van Nuys Courthouse at 14401 Sylvan St #112 Van Nuys, CA 91401.
Contact our office to review the details of your case at (877) 781-1570.