DUI with Injury is considered a “wobbler”. Which means it may be filed as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending upon the nature of the injuries. There is the “broken bone rule.” If the victim involved in the accident suffers a broken bone, the prosecution can and most likely will, file felony, as opposed to misdemeanor, charges. Also taken into consideration are the circumstances of the incident, as well as the criminal history of the accused, paying careful attention to any prior DUI’s.
To be charged with DUI with injury, there has to have been an accident and an injury. In order for the prosecution to charge someone with DUI with injury, there must be: 1) You drove while under the influence of alcohol or drugs; 2) While driving, you broke the law or acted in a negligent manner; and 3) Your unlawful act or negligence caused injury to another person.
Defending against a DUI with injury violation is approached in the same way as defending a DUI. An Orange County DUI defense attorney will explore all possibilities of proving that (1) you weren’t under the influence, and/or (2) that your blood alcohol level was inaccurately reported.
A skilled drunk driving defense attorney will also review all discovery available to ensure that all investigation, arrest, and breath-testing procedures were properly followed.
A Good Criminal Defense Attorney will then begin to look at the accident itself. Just because someone is involved in an accident and alcohol is involved, doesn’t mean that the accident was due to intoxication. A good criminal defense lawyer will employ the opinion of an accident reconstruction expert who can independently evaluate whether the accident that caused the injury was the fault of the intoxicated driver.
When evaluating how an accident occurred, it is important to look at the following:
• The weather,
• Road conditions,
• Damage to the vehicles, and
• Any other relevant evidence that is acquired.
This is critical because when police arrive on the scene of an accident and learn that someone has been drinking, they tend automatically to assume that that person is to blame. Police investigators then write their reports based on that presumption.
“This is why DUI with injury charges are often reduced to DUI charges. It is often difficult for the prosecution to prove that it was your negligence that caused the other person’s injury, rather than the alleged fact that you were simply under the influence.”
If you would like to know more about DUI With Injury, contact Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney William M. Weinbert at his Irvine, California office at 949-474-8008 or at www.williamweinberg.com.