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Visalia & Fresno DUI Defense Attorney

Posted by Christopher Martens | Jan 31, 2024 | 0 Comments


In Visalia, California, law enforcement agencies are constantly on the lookout for those driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, while criminal attorneys try their best to help those who find themselves facing DUI charges. Fortunately for those who find themselves facing a DUI with an injury charge, a good criminal attorney can help you get back on track with your life. Like all criminal offenses, the burden of proof lies on the state.

DUI Accident Laws in California

Under California vehicle code section 23153, it is illegal to cause bodily harm to a third party while driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both. This law applies to California as well as every other place in the U.S. To get a conviction for a DUI with injury under vehicle code section 23153, the prosecution has to prove:

  • Firstly, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was indeed driving the vehicle, just like they would have to for a regular DUI case without any bodily injury to a third party.
  • The state also has to prove that the defendant was under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or both while operating the vehicle. If alcohol is involved in the case, the prosecution has to prove that the accused had a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher. This is also something the state would have to prove for a regular DUI case without injury.
  • To escalate the charge from driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol to a DUI with injury, the prosecutor has to prove that the defendant committed an illegal act or neglected to perform a legal duty. That can be anything from speeding to running a red light.
  • Finally, to prove the defendant's guilt, the state also has to prove that the illegal act (or neglected legal duty) performed by the accused led to the accident that caused injury to a third person(s). In legal terms, the prosecution must prove the accused was a “substantial factor” leading to the injury.

Penalties for DUI Accident

DUI involving an accident is a pretty serious offense that can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. The former carries a maximum sentence of one year and a fine—or both—if convicted, while the latter carries a max punishment of three years in state prison.

Depending on the severity of the injuries suffered by the third party, the prosecution also has the option of adding a “Great Bodily Injury” enhancement that automatically adds an extra three years to the final sentence. To make things worse, at times, a conviction counts as a strike under the state of California's “Three Strikes Law,” meaning the defendant would have to serve, at least, 85 percent of the sentence if convicted. And it would also put the defendant two felony convictions away from serving a 25-to-life sentence.

DUI Accident Defense Strategies

Like most legal procedures, proving a DUI with an injury charge is a complicated process, and an experienced DUI attorney will make things even more complicated for the prosecution. Given the fact the prosecution has to prove all four points mentioned above, there's always a decent chance a competent lawyer will be able to find a few holes in the state's case.  For example, claiming you were under the influence of prescription drugs won't do much for you in court, and neither will your attempt to gain sympathy points with the jury by claiming you were sleepy after a hard day's work.

Experienced Visalia DUI ATTORNEY

The state of California makes fighting your DUI charges alone a difficult task. Our Visalia DUI defense lawyers will help you fight your DUI with an injury charge.

About the Author

Christopher Martens

Bio Visalia and Bakersfield criminal defense attorney who has dedicated his life to helping those who have been accused of crimes or injured due to the negligence of others.


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