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DUI Penalties in California Involving Injuries or Death

Posted by John Campanella | Mar 23, 2024 | 0 Comments

DUI Penalties in California Involving Injuries or Death

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense in California, particularly when it involves injuries or death. The penalties for such incidents are severe, both in terms of legal consequences and financial repercussions. Let's delve into the specifics of DUI penalties in California, particularly when injuries or death are involved.

Criminal Penalties:

  1. DUI Causing Injury (California Vehicle Code 23153 VC): If you're convicted of DUI causing injury, you could face imprisonment in a county jail for up to one year, up to three years in State prison and fines ranging from $390 to $5,000. Additionally, you may be required to pay restitution to the injured parties for their medical expenses and other losses.

  2. DUI Causing Great Bodily Injury (California Vehicle Code 23513 VC): If your DUI results in great bodily injury to another person, you could face enhanced penalties, including a longer jail sentence and higher fines. Great bodily injury refers to significant or substantial physical harm, such as broken bones, internal injuries, or disfigurement.

  3. Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated (California Penal Code 191.5 PC): If your DUI results in the death of another person, you could be charged with vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. This offense can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances. A misdemeanor conviction may result in up to one year in county jail and fines, while a felony conviction can lead to imprisonment in state prison for up to ten years.

Financial Consequences:

In addition to criminal penalties, DUI convictions involving injuries or death can have significant financial implications:

  1. Restitution: You may be ordered to pay restitution to the victims or their families to cover medical expenses, funeral costs, lost income, and other damages resulting from the accident.

  2. Civil Lawsuits: Injured parties or the families of deceased victims may file civil lawsuits against you seeking compensation for their losses. These lawsuits can result in substantial monetary judgments against you, including awards for pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and punitive damages.

  3. Insurance Premiums: A DUI conviction can lead to a significant increase in your auto insurance premiums. In some cases, insurers may even cancel your policy altogether, making it difficult to obtain coverage from other providers at affordable rates.

Other Consequences:

Apart from legal and financial penalties, DUI convictions involving injuries or death can have long-lasting personal and professional repercussions:

  1. Driver's License Suspension: You may face a mandatory suspension or revocation of your driver's license, making it challenging to commute to work or fulfill other responsibilities.

  2. Criminal Record: A DUI conviction will result in a permanent criminal record, which can negatively impact your employment prospects, housing opportunities, and reputation in the community.

  3. Ignition Interlock Device: In some cases, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle at your own expense. This device requires you to pass a breathalyzer test before starting your car, serving as a deterrent against future drunk driving.

In conclusion, DUI offenses involving injuries or death carry severe penalties in California, including imprisonment, hefty fines, restitution payments, and civil liabilities. It's essential to understand the potential consequences of driving under the influence and to take proactive measures to prevent such tragic outcomes. This includes avoiding alcohol consumption before driving, using designated drivers or ride-sharing services, and seeking help for alcohol dependency issues if necessary. By prioritizing safety and responsibility behind the wheel, we can all contribute to reducing the incidence of DUI-related accidents and protecting lives on the road.

About the Author

John Campanella

I have been representing people accused of drunk driving since I began practicing in 1995. I am active member of the National College of DUI Defense, a member of California DUI Lawyers Association, I am certified by the National Highway and Traffic Association for the administration of Field Sobriety Tests. I regularly attend DUI continuing education of the Bar, have tried over 35 Jury Trials, hundreds of pretrial motions and over 1000 DMV hearings all relating to DUI cases.


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