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DUI Causing Bodily Injury – Vehicle Code 23153(a) and (b) VC

DUI causing bodily injury in California
Are you accused of DUI causing bodily injury in California?

If you drive under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and cause physical harm to another person, you may be convicted of violating the Vehicle Code (VC) Section 23153(a) and (b).

Pursuant to Vehicle Code 23153 (a), it is unlawful for a person, while under the influence of any alcoholic beverage 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.

Section 23153(b) states, it is unlawful for a person, while having 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood 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.

Prosecution For DUI Causing Bodily Injury, VC 23153(a) and (b)

In order for you to be convicted of violating Vehicle Code 23153(a), the prosecution must prove all of the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • you drove a vehicle/operated a vessel,
  • when you drove a vehicle/operated a vessel, you were under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both,
  • while driving or operating your vehicle or vessel, you committed an illegal act or neglected to perform a legal duty, AND
  • the illegal act or failure to perform a legal duty was responsible for the bodily injury of another person.

To prosecute you for violating VC23143(b), it must be proven that you were driving with a blood alcohol content level of 0.08% or above in addition to the aforementioned elements.

Sentencing and Punishment for VC 23153(a) and (b)

Depending on how many prior convictions you have for DUI offenses, you may receive stricter punishment for violating VC 23153. If this was your first offense and it is charged as a misdemeanor, you may be sent to jail for a minimum of 5 days or up to one year. In addition, you may be forced to pay between $390 up to $5,000 in fines.

If your charge is a felony, you may be sentenced to a term in prison for two, three, or four years. For a felonious offense, you can be fined from $1,015 to $5,000. Further, if you have caused great bodily injury, or physical harm that is substantial or significant (beyond a minor scrape or bruise), you may have your sentence increased by three to six years.

Possible Defenses to VC 23152(a) and (b)?

Possible defenses to a dui causing bodily injury charge
Our team of attorneys are well-versed on the best possible defenses to your DUI charge.

If you have been charged for DUI causing bodily injury under VC 23152(a) or (b), a skilled criminal defense attorney can raise several defenses on your behalf. These defenses may include:

  • You did not cause the bodily injury. If you were under the influence but this was not directly responsible for the bodily injury of another person, you may not be charged with this crime. For example, if it was foggy or rainy and you were involved in an accident, and it is shown that these weather conditions were responsible for the accident (not due to any negligence on your part) you may not be convicted of DUI with bodily injury.
  • You did not have a BAC of 0.08%. If you are charged with VC 23152(b), your attorney can challenge the accuracy of your chemical test and may be able to prove that your BAC was not 0.08% or greater.
  • You weren’t driving when you got arrested. If you were in your vehicle and under the influence, but you were not actually proven to be driving your car, you cannot be liable for driving under the influence causing bodily injury.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding DUI Causing Bodily Injury

At Wallin & Klarich, we frequently receive questions from those facing DUI causing bodily injury charges. These include:

  • If my impairment was caused by a drug that I have a legal prescription for, can I still be convicted of a DUI? Yes. It is not a defense that you are legally entitled to use the drug if you drive under the influence and cause a bodily injury. 1
  • If my chemical test showed alcohol or drugs in my system, but it was another factor which impaired my driving and caused me to injure someone else, can I still be held responsible for DUI causing bodily injury? Yes, as long as you have committed an unlawful act in addition to driving under the influence. If, for example, you were driving drunk and a bird flew in front of your windshield causing you to strike another person and you left the scene without stopping to help, you can be convicted of a DUI causing bodily injury.
  • What is the difference between “driving under the influence” and “with a BAC of 0.08% or greater”? Driving under the influence can include both drugs or alcohol and it must be shown that your physical and mental abilities were impaired as a result. With a BAC of 0.08% or greater entails the amount of alcohol found in your blood. You will be automatically charged with a DUI if this level of alcohol is in your blood, regardless of how you were driving.

Contact Wallin & Klarich If You Have Been Charged with DUI Causing Bodily Injury

Wallin & Klarich VC 23153(a) and (b) lawyers
You do not have to go through this legal battle alone. Let Wallin & Klarich fight on your behalf.

If you are facing charges of driving under the influence and causing bodily injury, it is in your best interest to contact our experienced attorneys at Wallin & Klarich right away. Our skilled attorneys have over 30 years of experience successfully defending our clients. We are confident that we can help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

We have offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville. Wherever you live or work, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you.

Call us at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.


1. [http://www.courts.ca.gov/partners/documents/calcrim_juryins.pdf]

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