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What Can Happen If I Injure Someone While Driving Under the Influence?

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Anyone who causes an injury to another person while driving under the influence (DUI) faces serious charges and might even be charged with a felony DUI. Under California Vehicle Code 23153, an individual will generally be facing a felony charge, depending upon several factors, including the type and extent of the injury.

Since 1989, the law in California states that an individual is legally driving under the influence if his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 or greater. It has remained the same for the last 23 years.

“Injury” can mean anything from bruises or a broken finger to major injuries and hospitalization. The only real distinction is that it must be something more than having been shaken up. The injury can be to the driver or passenger in another vehicle, a passenger in the intoxicated driver’s vehicle or a pedestrian.

A DUI with bodily injury is often called a “wobbler.” This means that it can be a misdemeanor DUI or a felony DUI, depending on whether you have a prior DUI or a criminal background; what county the offense occurred in; and the type of injury the other person sustained.

A person is considered to be “under the influence” if their physical and mental abilities are impaired to the extent that they cannot drive as carefully as a sober person would under the same or similar circumstances.

If you are charged with a felony DUI, you can possibly go to prison for two to four years, in addition to considerable other fines and penalties. These fines and penalties can be enhanced if the victim involved suffered great bodily injury (GBI). The court will assess fines of up to $5,000 and order attendance at a court approved DUI school for 30 months, in addition to suspending your driver’s license for five years. You will also be designated as a habitual traffic offender (HTO) for three years.

Having a felony DUI conviction on your record can have major ramifications that will last a lifetime, particularly if your job entails driving. You will lose your job. Even for individuals who do not drive for a living, it will make obtaining employment difficult when employers conduct criminal background checks. It will also make obtaining car or mortgage loans more difficult, as well as getting into a college or university of your choice.


If you or a family member have been charged with a misdemeanor DUI with bodily injury or a felony DUI, it is absolutely necessary that you seek advice from a California criminal defense lawyer who is experienced in handling DUI wobbler cases.

Ronald N. Hoffman, with Hoffman & Associates, has been a practicing criminal defense lawyer for nearly 40 years. We have made it our goal to protect our client’s freedom and good name. We will aggressively fight for a dismissal, a not guilty verdict or negotiate a reduced charge for you.

Contact us through our website or call us direct at (323) 655-3900 to schedule a free initial consultation.

We have reasonable fee arrangements and a variety of payment plans. We also accept all major credit cards, checks and money orders.

Related Blog Posts:

What Evidence Can They Use Against me in a Los Angeles DMV Hearing?, Los Angeles DUI Lawyer Blog, December 27, 2012

Should I Act Quickly to Hire a Los Angeles DUI Attorney after my Arrest?, Los Angeles DUI Lawyer Blog, November 28, 2012