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DUI CAUSING INJURY - Is a DUI a Felony - 4th DUI

Is Drunk Driving a Felony?


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When is a DUI a Felony? The most common way for a DUI case to be a felony in California is for there to be an injury. The police may have arrested you for felony driving under the influence.

But the prosecutor's decision whether to charge you with a misdemeanor or a felony offense for a DUI is based on several factors. That's why you need strong legal representation. Call (714) 721-4423 today for help.

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

Vehicle Code 23550 makes your DUI offense a felony if you have three (or more) prior DUI convictions: your 4th DUI within 10 years is a felony. 

You can rely on DUI Attorney Richard Wagner's decades of experience to fight your felony DUI charges. Read Richard Wagner's profile

Drivers who get arrested for felony DUI may not realize the consequences and ramifications. 

Therefore, it is highly recommended that you seek legal assistance from DUI attorney Richard Wagner as soon as possible to help protect your future. Call (714) 721-4423.

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DUI Causing Injury VC 23153

What is an injury? 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 a slight injury is sufficient evidence of injury. But it must be more than a mere “shaking up.”

What does "bodily injury" mean? It means what it says, harm or hurt to the body. Beware: Courts find enough evidence of bodily injury for DUI charged as a felony 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.

Is a dui a felony

Photo by Ed Libedinsky on Unsplash 

Great Bodily Injury – Enhancement

What does GBI mean? GBI stands for great bodily injury. The legal definition of great bodily injury is:  “a significant or substantial physical injury.” 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 commission of a felony or an attempted felony. 

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 felony charge is generally both a serious felony and a violent felony. This means the offense is a “strike prior.”

Punishment for 4th DUI:

If you get convicted of a 4th DUI you could be sentenced to 16 months, 2 years, or 4 years in California State Prison. However, you could be given probation and sent to county jail.

If that happens, you will be required to complete the DUI program and MADD Victim Impact Panel and pay fees and fines. If sent to state prison, you must complete the DUI school for the DMV only.

How A DUI Attorney Can Help

DUI Lawyers 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.

If you are placed on probation, you can still be sent to the county jail. However, there are alternatives to jail: SCRAM, house arrest, electronic monitoring, alcohol or drug residential treatment programs, work furlough, county parole programs, and work release programs. 

The clock begins to tick the moment a crash occurs. In serious cases, an investigation into the cause of a collision should be done as soon as possible. Road conditions change, evidence vanishes, vehicles are altered/destroyed, electronic evidence is lost, and memories fade. Photographs and measurements of the damage should be taken. Many vehicles have data recorders, such as Global Positioning Systems (GPS) or cameras or Electronic Data Recorders (EDRs).


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 School; plus
  • 5 days to 1 year in the county jail;
  • Restitution


If you are denied probation:

  • 90 days to 1 year in jail, or 16 months, 2 or 3 years in state prison. 
  • 3-6 more years in prison if you inflicted great bodily injury on someone.
  • 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.