WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR DUI INJURY CASES
A DUI injury case can be charged in a number of different ways depending on the seriousness of the injuries to the victim. Very minor injuries generally result in the filing of a misdemeanor which carries a penalty of at least 5 days in jail and a one year hard suspension of driver’s license. To be an injury under §23153 it is not necessary that any medical treatment was received or that the victim was off work. Even slight injury is sufficient evidence of injury, but it must be more than a mere “shaking up.” The term “bodily injury” has been construed to mean just what it says, harm or hurt to the body. Common sense requires more than a fear or fright or a minor headache. People v. Lares (1968) 261 Cal.App.2d 657,662. But courts find sufficient bodily injury for VC 23153 based on claims of pain by victims even in the absence of objective medical evidence. See, e.g. In re F.H (2011) 192 Cal.App.4th 1465
Any significant injury will result in a felony filing which could result in a sentence range of 16 months to 36 months in prison with a maximum sentence of one year in county jail if probation is granted. Convictions for persons having prior convictions for DUI are significantly enhanced as seen in the charts below. One DUI prior subjects a defendant to a possible prison sentence ranging from 16 months to 3 years, while 2 or more priors mandates a prison term ranging from 2-4 years.
If the victim suffers great bodily injury, a special enhancement allegation under Penal Code 12022.7 makes the charge a violent felony (STRIKE) which adds a mandatory minimum 3-5 years onto the sentence and limits good time/work time credits to 15% rather the normal 50%.
Penal Code §1202.4 grants the direct victims of crime the right to receive restitution for direct expenses that are suffered as the result of the actions of the defendant in a criminal case. Restitution is ordered by the Court whenever Probation is granted as a condition of probation is ordered when a Defendant is sentenced to prison and the restitution order becomes a civil judgment which is non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. These judgments can be very large in major DUI accident cases with significant injuries especially when there is a small insurance policy.
By Barry T. Simons: “It is my honor and privilege to fight for my clients; challenge unjust laws; protect our Constitution and to be a thorn on the side of injustice”.