I. great bodily injury: Introduction
DUI charges can vary in degree. Some DUI charges can be triggered after a person drives after having alcoholic beverages and gets into a car accident that causes severe bodily injury to another person. This blog will discuss the enhancements one faces after being involved in an accident that results in great bodily injuries while driving intoxicated.
II. The Elements Under 23153
In order to be convicted under 23153 the prosecutor must show that the accused:
1) Drove on a public highway while intoxicated;
2) Committed an act forbidden by law; or neglected a duty imposed by law
3) Such act proximately caused a bodily injury to a person
To be charged under 23153, as the third prong says, you must cause a bodily injury. What does bodily injury mean? A court described it as harm to the body, but not harm that is equal or less to being frightened and not physically hurt. But what happens when the person that is injured is seriously injured? This next section will provide an answer.
III. Penal Code 12022.7
Generally speaking, enhancements in criminal law increase the severity of the punishment if found guilty. For example, you can be facing up to six (6) months in jail if there are no enhancements, or face up to three (3) years in state prison because you are being charged with an enhancement. DUI charges can carry enhancements. More specifically, penal code 12022.7 can be added as an enhancement to your DUI case.
IV. What is a Great Bodily Injury?
Although there is no set definition for great bodily injury, there are cases that provide some clues. One court said that a great bodily injury can be an injury that causes “significant pain” and requires significant time to heal. Thus, you can imagine that the injuries involved in these cases are much more than bumps and bruises.
If there are serious injuries in a DUI case, the accused is facing some serious consequences. Under 12022.7(a), the severity in punishment increases. For example, if you are involved in a car accident that results in great bodily injury, then you are facing three (3) years in state prison. Under penal code 12022.7(b), you can face an additional five (5) years in state prison if the injury results in comatose or paralysis.
VI. It’s Time to get Help
Having an attorney on your side when facing serious prison (not jail) time is critical. If you find yourself facing charges like the ones discussed above, then you need to contact us so we can help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Our team at the Law Offices of Mark A. Gallagher has the knowledge and experience to help you when facing these types of charges, so call us today at 800-797-8406 to schedule your free consultation or visit www.socaldefenselawyers.com/contact for more information.