Our Los Angeles DUI lawyers have defended many clients charged with felony driving under the influence charges due to injuries sustained by the other driver or passenger. In felony DUI cases where our client was driving recklessly with a high blood alcohol level causing an accident resulting in injuries, the Los Angeles County prosecutor would typically seek a significant jail sentence. A DUI causing injury case is covered under California Vehicle Code 23153.
Therefore, avoiding incarceration in these type of DUI cases is our top priority. It's important to note that California Penal Code 12022.7 allows and additional 3 years in prison for anyone who was convicted of a felony case that involved a great bodily injury to another person.
This is known as a great bodily injury (GBI) enhancement and defined as a “substantial physical injury.” It's an injury more than minor or moderate harm that includes broken bones, serious cuts, concussions, and even soft tissue injuries that require medical treatment.
If you have been charged under VC 23153, you need to immediately consult with our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers to review your case and legal options. Avoiding jail time and harsh DUI penalties is our priority and we need to review the best legal strategies moving forward with your case. Let's review some of these strategies below.
In a plea negotiations with a Los Angeles County prosecutor, it may be possible to get them to dismiss a great bodily injury enhancement under PC 12022.7. This could occur in felony DUI cases when the victim's injuries are not that serious, or in cases where the defendant paid full restitution to the satisfaction of the victim, or when the defendant has earned consideration of leniency by demonstrating remorse and taken actual direct steps to deal with sobriety.
In DUI causing injury cases where a defendant is granted probation, the judge has the authority to impose a sentence that doesn't include state prison time even if they pleaded to felony DUI. However, it's important to note a defendant who has been convicted of a felony DUI with GBI, is typically not eligible for probation.
Clearly, most defendants charged with felony DUI causing injury are mainly concerned with avoiding time in jail. Let's review the factors judges and prosecutors consider when deciding whether a defendant should be shown leniency after being charged with DUI injury case in violation of California vehicle Code 23153.
Rehabilitation and Treatment
A main factor used by the court and prosecutor in order to determine whether a defendant should be shown leniency in felony DUI causing injury cases is the defendant's commitment to rehabilitation and treatment. This takes place in many forms, but a good start would be attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
When a defendants attends these AA meetings, they will take with them a routine log sheet that will be signed by the supervisor holding the meeting. If a defendant can demonstrate consistent attendance, especially in cases where they have not been ordered by the court to attend, it will clearly show their positive and proactive attitude to address their issue with abusing alcohol.
In cases where a defendant may have a more serious issue of being an alcoholic, there are formal treatment options such as outpatient, or even inpatient, rehabilitation treatment.
Typically, these rehabilitation facilities are quite familiar with the Los Angeles County criminal court system and will provide written progress reports and evaluations to show a defendant's commitment to rehabilitation. In some cases, it might be possible for our criminal defense lawyers to bargain with the prosecutor a court-ordered stay in a rehab facility in lieu of jail time.
Yet another factor in an attempt to avoid jail time in a VC 23153 DUI causing injury case is restitution to the victim. This payment should be made as soon as possible. Prosecutor and judges are typically concerned with the financial hardship sustained by a victim who has been injured. This includes lost wages, medical bills, and treatment.
In cases where a victim might not receive immediate compensation, they are placed in a position to make attempts to collect restitution months or years after the the accident. In many cases, it's financially devastating. Therefore, it is considered a significant positive factor by the court when a defendant makes quick and full restitution to the victim.
Another step at avoiding jail time in DUI causing injury cases includes preparation of a mitigation packet that list the defendant's efforts to make a positive change. This package would include documentation of character references from members of their family, friends, and co-workers.
It could also document volunteer work in the community, at church, or any other issues that demonstrate the defendant's positive conduct. The mitigation package is an attempt to show good moral character and a positive impact of the community. It's important to note that absent mitigating information, the court's only see the defendant's conduct charged in DUI causing injury case that might not accurately portray their lifestyle.
Another potential method to avoid jail time in a VC 23153 DUI causing injury case is convincing the prosecutor to not pursue a jail sentence if the defendant volunteers to wear an ankle bracelet that detects blood alcohol.
This type of device is called a SCRAM bracelet and after it has been installed, it will monitor the defendant's blood alcohol level and produce automated reports to the company providing the service and the court in cases where the device detects alcohol consumption or tampering with the device.
It should be noted SCRAM bracelets are not always 100% accurate, but they are typically trusted technology by Los Angeles County criminal courts and participation in the program is considered a good faith effort in sobriety.
Contact us To Prepare Your Defense for VC 23153
If you have been charged with California Vehicle Code 23152, felony DUI causing injuries, you should immediately consult with our law firm to review the details of your case and legal options on avoiding a conviction or jail sentence.
Our law firm partners have decades of combined experience defending felony DUI cases. The first step in your defense is a thorough review of your situation in order to develop an effective strategy to keep your out of jail. We understand the DUI court process and will give you an honest assessment and discuss best possible outcomes. We offer a free case evaluation.