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The tough decisions facing a person charged with driving under the influence can be overwhelming; however, they can be easier to confront when you are a client of an experienced, reputable and well-respected DUI defense attorney that knows how to navigate the respective professional board inquiry set forth in motion by the virtue of your arrest.

CVC § 23153 is the drunk driving with injury statute. It is sometimes referred to as felony drunk driving but that name is misleading. The offense may also be charged as a misdemeanor (CVC § 23554), and a certain number or type of prior convictions can create a felony “wobbler” offense (chargeable as either a felony or a misdemeanor) under CVC §23550 or CVC § 23550.5.

In addition to the elements necessary to convict for DUI, a prosecutor must also prove that the accused did an act forbidden by law or neglected a duty imposed by law and that act or neglect proximately caused bodily injury to any person other than the driver.  The third element, the forbidden act or neglected duty, is known as the supporting offense. Basically, the supporting offense is some wrongful act, usually a Vehicle Code infraction, that is alleged to be the cause of the victim’s injuries.

The prosecution also has the burden of proving proximate cause and may satisfy that burden by producing “evidence from which it may be reasonably inferred that the defendant’s act was a substantial factor in producing” the harm.

A felony conviction for violating CVC § 23153(a), constitutes a strike with a consecutive three year enhancement if the defendant personally inflicts great bodily injury on any person, other than an accomplice.  Once there is injury to another, the charge becomes a felony and, if the injury is substantial enough to qualify as great bodily injury, the enhancement under §12022.7(a) applies since the driver personally inflicted great bodily injury.

  1. § 12022.7(e) defines great bodily injury as “a significant or substantial physical injury.” It is an injury that is greater than minor or moderate harm.

A defendant sentenced to state prison following a conviction of CVC § 23153 with an allegation pursuant to PC §12022.7 found to be true must serve 85 percent of the sentence because such a conviction qualifies as a violent felony. “Any felony in which the defendant inflicts great bodily injury on any person other than an accomplice which has been charged and proved as provided for in section 12022.7.”

In the case of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, an act causes death if the death is the direct, natural and probable consequence of the act and the death 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. To be considered the proximate cause of the victim’s death, the defendant’s act must have been a substantial factor contributing to the result, rather than insignificant or merely theoretical.

Regardless of which Penal Code or Vehicle Code violation you may be facing, you don’t have to do it alone.  Call attorney Richard T. Dudek.  He knows how to get you the results you need while keeping your dignity in the process.