California Vehicle Code Section 23153 VC is known as an injury DUI. Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs that causes bodily injury carries greater penalties for the driver, including possible felony charges. If you were arrested on charges of 23153 VC, contact a local East Bay DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Vehicle Code 23153 VC Text
(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.
(b) 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.
The same violations apply to drivers who are under the influence of drugs or drugs and alcohol. (California Vehicle Code Section 23153(f)-(g)).
Elements of the Offense
In order for the prosecutor to get a conviction, the prosecutor or district attorney needs to prove every element of the case, “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If there is some doubt that even one element is not met, you should not be found guilty.
Vehicle Code 231523 VC
Under the Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions, to prove the defendant is guilty of the 23153, the state has to prove:
- The defendant drove a vehicle;
- When he or she drove, the defendant was under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, or a drug, or a combination of alcoholic beverage and drug;
- While driving a vehicle under the influence, the defendant also committed an illegal act or neglected to perform a legal duty; AND
- The defendant's illegal act or failure to perform a legal duty caused bodily injury to another person.
“Under the influence” means that as a result of drinking alcohol or taking a drug, his or her mental or physical abilities are so impaired that he or she is no longer able to drive a vehicle with the caution of a sober person, using ordinary care, under similar circumstances.
Committed an Illegal Act or Neglected to Perform a Legal Duty
An illegal act or neglecting to perform a legal duty generally refers to some traffic violation or negligence when driving. The illegal act or negligence also has to be a cause of injury to another.
Who Suffers an Injury?
An injury does not have to be serious, permanent, or life threatening. Even a minor injury could result in injury DUI charges. An injury DUI can also involve any injury to any person other than the driver. This could include a pedestrian, driver of another vehicle, or even the passenger in the driver's own vehicle.
Example of Injury DUI
For example, Alan and Susan go to dinner. Alan has a few glasses of wine with dinner. When they are driving home, Alan speeds up to make it through a yellow light. Alan is late to the light and runs a red light. Another car begins to pull into the intersection and Alan swerves, losing control and hitting a lamp post. Susan suffers a neck sprain from the crash.
Alan was driving the car at the time of the accident and may be charged with an injury DUI if he was impaired by alcohol or had a BAC of 0.08% or higher. Alan may be guilty of an injury DUI because he committed an illegal act by running a red light and running the red light was a cause of the accident which caused injury to Susan.
Defense Strategies for an Injury DUI in California
When the police show up to an injury accident, they may be looking so hard for evidence of a drunk driver that they see things that aren't there. There are plenty of reasons a driver may be acting nervous, anxious, or jittery after an accident that has nothing to do with drugs or alcohol. Do not let the police officer's false impressions cause you to plead guilty to a crime you did not commit.
One of the most common defense strategies for an injury DUI is to challenge the chemical breath or blood test evidence. These chemical tests are not always accurate and can show an inaccurate measure or falsely test positive for drugs. Problems can be caused by operator error, mixing up samples, failing to properly calibrate the machines, or intentional tampering.
Defense Lawyer for 23153 VC Injury DUI Charges in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties
A DUI injury could result in felony criminal charges and leave you with a felony record. With so much at stake, it is important to talk to an attorney who understands the local DUI laws, how local law enforcement operates, and each judge's reputation. East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 30 years of DUI experience, and understands the consequences of an injury DUI for California drivers. Contact Alameda County and Contra Costa County DUI lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.