Driving Under the Influence of Drugs Causing Injury – VC 23153(e) and VC 23153(f)
You wake up in a daze, surrounded by officers and paramedics. After getting acclimated to the surroundings, you realize you’re sitting in your car and you have collided with another vehicle.
An officer approaches you and asks you about what happened. Then, he asks you, “Have you been drinking?” You haven’t been drinking, but you were driving under the influence of drugs. You are placed under arrest for violating California Vehicle Code Sections 23153(e) and 23153(f), driving under the influence of drugs causing injury.
California Vehicle Code Section 23153(e) states that it is unlawful for a person, while under the influence of any drug, to drive a vehicle and concurrently do any act forbidden by law, or neglect any duty imposed by law in driving the vehicle, which act or neglect proximately causes bodily injury to any person other than the driver. Vehicle Code Section 23153(f) is similar, but it involves the combined influence of alcohol and drugs.
Prosecution of Driving Under the Influence of Drugs Causing Injury
In order for you to be found guilty of driving under the influence of drugs causing injury, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you:
- Drove a vehicle;
- Drove while under the influence of any drugs, or an alcoholic beverage and drugs;
- Committed an illegal act or failed to perform a lawful duty; AND
- That illegal act or failure to perform a lawful duty was the cause of a bodily injury to a victim other than the driver of the vehicle.
Sentencing and Punishment for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs Causing Injury
The crime of driving under the influence of drugs causing injury is considered a “wobbler” offense, meaning it can be charges as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the severity of the injury and other facts of the case. How you will be charged will also depend on whether you have any prior misdemeanor or felony DUI convictions within the last 10 years.
If you are charged with a misdemeanor for driving under the influence of drugs causing injury, you face up to 364 days in county jail. A felony is punishable by 16 months, 2 or 3 years in jail.
If you have been previously convicted of this crime twice, you will automatically be charged with a felony. Under this circumstance, you face 2, 3 or 4 years in jail. A felony will also count as a strike on your criminal record under California’s Three Strikes law. If you receive three strikes, you could face 25 years to life in prison.
Additionally, your punishment will likely include a requirement for you to take a DUI class for up to 30 months. Depending upon the facts of your case, you could face up to 5 years in jail.
Possible Defenses to Driving Under the Influence of Drugs Causing Injury
A skilled criminal defense attorney will know the legal defenses to VC 23153 (e) and 23153(f) charges. These defenses could include:
- You were not driving the vehicle – If it can be proven that another person was driving the vehicle, this should be a complete defense against these charges.
- You did not have any alcohol or drugs in your blood at the time of the accident – This can be established based on how the chemical tests were taken, the time they were taken, and when if any drugs or alcohol was consumed.
- You did not perform an illegal act or fail to perform a lawful duty – If you did not violate any traffic laws, you should not be convicted of this offense.
- Your act was not the cause of bodily injury – If it can be proven that there was another factor that caused the bodily injury, and that it was no fault of yours, then you cannot be convicted of this offense.
- There was no bodily injury – While there is no clear rule as to what defines “bodily injury,” the courts consider it that “common sense requires more for conviction than a ‘shaking up’, or fright, or a minor headache.” If no serious bodily injury occurred, then you should not be convicted of this offense.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Driving Under the Influence of Drugs Causing Injury
What if I did drive the car, but I wasn’t driving it when the accident occurred?
You can still be prosecuted for the offense if you weren’t actually driving the vehicle when the incident occurred. For example, if you left your vehicle on the side of the road and somebody crashed into it, you could be considered at fault for the accident.
What if the other party also acted negligently that contributed to causing the accident?
While that may be true, this is not a defense to this charge. If the accident was not completely your fault but you were a part of the fault that caused the accident, you could be charged with this crime.
What happens if there are multiple injured people? Can I be given more than one charge?
No, the act of driving under the influence causing injury is considered one act only, even if there are multiple victims involved.
Call the DUI Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or a loved one has been charged with driving under the influence of drugs causing injury, you need to contact an experienced DUI defense attorney immediately. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled attorneys have been successfully defending clients facing charges of DUI for over 30 years. Our skilled DUI lawyers can help you with your case today.
With offices located in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich DUI attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.