Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs and causing bodily injury carries significant potential penalties, including possible felony charges. If you were arrested for violating Vehicle Code Section 23153, contact a local Santa Cruz DUI defense attorney right away.
(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 Sections 23153(f)-(g)).
What the Prosecutor Has to Prove To Get a Conviction:
To get a conviction, the prosecutor needs to prove every element of the crime “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If there is reasonable doubt about any of the elements, you should not be found guilty.
Elements of the Crime:
Under California Jury Instructions a person is guilty of violating vehicle code 23153 if prosecutor can 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
“Under the influence” means that, due to drinking alcohol or taking a drug, a driver's 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.
Illegal Act/Legal Duty
An illegal act or neglecting to perform a legal duty generally refers to a traffic violation or negligence when driving. The illegal act or negligence also must be a cause of injury to another.
Injuries don't have to be serious, permanent, or life threatening. Even minor injuries, such as aches and pains, can result in DUI with injury charges. An injury DUI can involve injuries to a passenger, another driver or passenger in another car, or a pedestrian.
Defenses to an Injury DUI in Santa Cruz County
When the police show up to an injury accident, they often start looking for evidence of a drunk driver. This can cause them to miss or ignore exculpatory evidence or to see things that are not there. There are numerous reasons a driver may appear to be mentally or physically impaired that have nothing to do with drugs or alcohol. These include diabetes, dementia, glaucoma, hepatic encephalopathy, macular degeneration, obstructive sleep-apnea, Parkinson's disease, stroke, traumatic brain injury, and many others. (Read more here.)
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 breath or blood tests. These chemical tests are frequently inaccurate. Blood samples in Santa Cruz County are analyzed using an outdated and unreliable process called “single column gas chromatography.” (Read more here.) Inaccurate tests results can be caused by lab analysts who are poorly trained or who cut corners. (Read more here.) And lab workers are known to have falsified test results in thousands of cases. (Read more here.)
Defense Lawyer for 23153 VC Injury DUI Charges in Santa Cruz County
A DUI injury could result in felony criminal charges and leave you in prison with a felony record. It is important to talk to an attorney who understands California DUI laws, how local district attorneys and police operate, and how each judge deals with injury DUI cases. Santa Cruz DUI defense attorney Phillip Crawford has extensive experience winning DUI trials. He understands the consequences of an injury DUI for California drivers. Contact Santa Cruz DUI attorney Phillip Crawford today at 831-204-0773.