California DUI Accidents
When an accident occurs, whether it involves serious injury or minor property damage, police who respond to the scene will evaluate drivers for signs of intoxication. If a driver appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they will be asked to take a sobriety test. Any driver that is believed to be intoxicated will be taken into custody and given a chemical sobriety test to check for drugs or alcohol in the system.
If the driver has a Blood Alcohol Concentration over the legal limit of .08% or is found to have ingested any drugs, they will be arrested for DUI.
California DUI and Property Damage
In cases where a driver was intoxicated and crashed their vehicle into an object or another car but no injuries were caused, they will face charges for driving while impaired vehicle section code 23152 VC.
The penalties for a first time offense include:
- A minimum of 96 hours in jail and a maximum of 6 months
- Fines between $390 and $1,000
- Up to 6 months of license suspension
- 30 to 60 hours of alcohol or drug education classes
- Three to five years of informal probation
If the driver caused property damage like hitting a parked car or a building, or hit another vehicle but there were no injuries, they will be responsible for the damage. Most people's insurance will pay for the damage but their rates will go up. And they will have to pay for anything that is not covered.
California DUI with Injury
In cases where there is injury, a driver will face charges for vehicle section code 23153 VC. The more serious the injuries are, the more serious the charges and penalties will be. For an accident where the injuries are minimal, the driver will likely face misdemeanor charges. The penalties for a first time 23153 VC misdemeanor violation include:
- Five days to one year of incarceration
- License suspension for a period of one to three years
- Fines of at least$3920, but not more than $5,000
- Informal probation for 3 to 5 years
- A minimum of 3 months and a maximum of 30 months of California DUI education
- Restitution fees for injuries and property damage
In cases where a driver has been charged with causing serious injury or death, they may be charged with a felony DUI accident. Felony charges are also given when it is believed that the driver caused the accident on purpose or was driving very recklessly. Felony convictions on your record are very serious and can have long-term consequences for your career and educational goals. You may also be sentenced to the following:
- Jail time that includes:
- Two to four years for the initial crime
- Three to six years for causing great bodily harm or death
- One year for every additional victim
- Fines between $1,105 and $5,000
- 18 to 30 months of DUI education
- Habitual Offender status for 3 years
- License revocation
California DUI Accident Defense
There are many ways that an attorney can fight these types of charges. For a Section 23153 VC violation, a driver has to be intoxicated by drugs or alcohol and make a driving error that leads to injury. If one part of this cannot be proven, charges will be reduced or dismissed. Some common defense strategies include:
- The first is by challenging whether the driver was intoxicated in the first place. When a serious accident takes place, police will often test the BAC of all drivers involved to check for DUI. After an accident, drivers are disoriented and not acting correctly which can lead to falsely positive results on field sobriety tests.
- A lawyer may also argue that the accident was not caused by the driver. For example, you are involved in a car accident where you rear ended a truck and police evaluate you for DUI. Your BAC is over the legal limit so you are charged with causing the accident due to your intoxication but in reality, the truck cut in front of you and then slammed on their brakes. You may have had alcohol in your system, but you were not to blame for the accident or the injuries it caused.
Call a California DUI Attorney
Our lawyers have dedicated their legal careers to criminal justice law in California. We have had years of experience and are constantly being educated on the latest DUI laws and practices. Many of our attorneys have been trained to understand the rules of field sobriety tests and a device often used to measure BAC. This is information generally only known by law enforcement and can be useful in examining your arrest details for errors.
Our law firm can help you fight your charges and stand up for your rights. We understand that an arrest does not mean that you are guilty and every case can be defensible. If you have been arrest for DUI in California, don't wait until it is too late; call us today.