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DUI Causing Injury – Felony DUI – VC 23153

The most common way for DUI to be a felony in California is for there to be an injury. The prosecutor’s decision whether to charge a DUI causing an injury as a felony or a misdemeanor is based on several factors. That’s why you need strong legal representation.  Call (714) 721-4423 today for help now.

To be an injury under California Vehicle Code Section 23153 it is not necessary that any medical treatment was received or that the victim was off work. Even slight injury is sufficient evidence of injury. But it must be more than a mere “shaking up.”

Bodily injury means what it says, harm or hurt to the body. Beware: Courts find enough evidence for bodily injury for felony DUI based on claims of pain by victims even when there has been no objective medical evidence.

There may be more than one cause of injury.  The law says 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.

Great Bodily Injury – Enhancement

California Penal Code Section 12022.7 says you can’t inflict or cause great bodily injury on a person other than an accomplice during the course of a felony or an attempted felony.  The definition of great bodily injury is:  “a significant or substantial physical injury.”

Punishment for Great Bodily Injury – GBI

This is an extra 3-year prison term if you personally inflicted great bodily injury on another person. If you personally caused GBI on a person who is 70 years of age or older, or if there is a brain injury or paralysis, you could be punished by an additional and consecutive term of imprisonment in state prison for 5 years. If the victim is under 5 years old, it is 4, 5, or 6 years.

If you are convicted of personally inflicting great bodily injury, that offense is generally both a serious felony and a violent felony. This means the offense is a “strike prior.”

Felony DUI: Prior Convictions

Vehicle Code 23550.5 makes any drunk driving offense a felony IF you have one (or more) separate violations of drunk driving or vehicular manslaughter within 10 years that resulted in a felony conviction.

If you have three (or more) prior DUIs, your 4th DUI within 10 years is a felony under Vehicle Code 23550.

How A DUI Attorney Can Help

Defense attorneys put together mitigation if you have been accused of Felony DUI. This says why probation should be granted and why the court should sentence you to the lower prison term, if probation isn’t granted.

Felony dui attorneyIf you are placed on probation, you can still be sent to the county jail. However, there are alternatives to jail: house arrest, electronic monitoring, residential treatment programs, work furlough. county parole programs, work release programs. 


If this is your first offense and you are granted probation:

»$390 to $1000 fine, plus penalty assessments, surcharges, and fees;

»Ignition Interlock Device for 12 months;

»1-year license suspension;

»Possible 6-month car impound;

»First Offender DUI Program; plus

⇒5 days to 1 year in the county jail, or

⇒If you are denied probation: 90 days to 1 year in jail, or 2 or 3 years in state prison.  Plus you can get 3-6 more years in prison if you inflicted great bodily injury on someone. You can also get 1 year more in prison for each additional injured victim, up to 3. 

If you have been charged/arrested for DUI with injury or Felony DUI, call The Law Office of Richard Wagner – at 714-721-4423 – Free Consultation.