INFORMATION ON YOUR DUI ARREST

FELONY DUI - WITH INJURY

VEHICLE CODE § 23153(a), (f), (g)

The defendant is charged with causing injury to another person while driving a vehicle / operating a vessel, under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or a drug; or an alcoholic beverage and a drug, in violation of Vehicle Code section 23153(a)/(f)/(g). 

To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the Prosecution must prove that:

1.  The defendant drove a vehicle / operated a vessel; 

2.  When the defendant did so, they were under the influence / combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and / or a drug; 

3.  While driving a vehicle / operating a vessel under the influence, the defendant also committed an illegal act or neglected to perform a legal duty; 

     AND

4.  The defendant's illegal act or failure to perform a legal duty caused bodily injury to another person. 

A person is under the influence if, as a result of drinking or consuming an alcoholic beverage and / or taking a drug, mental or physical abilities are so impaired that they are no longer able to drive a vehicle / operate a vessel with the caution and care of a sober person, using ordinary care, under similar circumstances. 

 

VEHICLE CODE § 23153(b)

The defendant is charged with causing injury to another person while driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or more. 

To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the Prosecution must prove that:

1.  The defendant drove a vehicle; 

2.  When they drove, the defendant’s blood alcohol level was 0.08 percent or more by weight; 

3.  While driving with that blood alcohol level, the defendant also committed an illegal act or neglected to perform a legal duty; 

     AND

4.  The defendant's illegal act or failure to perform a legal duty caused bodily injury to another person. 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What exactly is an "alcoholic beverage" for these purposes?

An alcoholic beverage is a liquid or solid material intended to be consumed that contains ethanol. Ethanol is also known as ethyl alcohol, drinking alcohol, or alcohol.

What exactly is a "drug" for these purposes?

A drug is a substance or combination of substances, other than alcohol, that could so affect the nervous system, brain, or muscles of a person that it would appreciably impair his or her ability to drive a vehicle /  operate a vessel as an ordinarily cautious person, in full possession of his or her faculties and using reasonable care, would drive a vehicle / operate a vessel under similar circumstances.

How does the law define "ordinary care" for someone to be unable to drive? 

Using ordinary care means using reasonable care to prevent reasonably foreseeable harm to someone else. A person fails to exercise ordinary care if he or she does something that a reasonably careful person would not do in the same situation or fails to do something that a reasonably careful person would do in the same situation.

How does the law define "causing injury" for felony DUI? 

An act causes bodily injury to another person if the injury is the direct, natural, and probable consequence of the act and the injury would not have happened without the act.

 

A natural and probable consequence is one that a reasonable person would know is likely to happen if nothing unusual intervenes. 

There may be more than one cause of injury. An act causes bodily injury to another person only if it is a substantial factor in causing the injury. A substantial factor is more than a trivial or remote factor. However, it need not be the only factor that causes the injury.

But what if I was legally entitled to use the "drug" - isn't that a defense? 

No. The law holds it is not a defense that the defendant was legally entitled to use the drug.* 

* This is a matter of great dispute in cases involving prescription drugs.  The best example for this would be the common prescription drug "Adderall" ~ also known as amphetamines.  Even if legally prescribed and being used as prescribed, the law technically says that is not a defense.  

Yet that is the job of the diligent defense attorney:  to point out obvious concerns with strict enforcement of the laws.  Does anyone really want someone driving without their medication prescribed ... for Attention Deficit Disorder?? 

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