DUI with Injury

California Vehicle Code Sections 23153(a), 23153(b)

An arrest for a DUI with injury will usually result in two separate misdemeanor charges:

  1. § 23153(a): Driving under the influence of alcohol, and while driving, you broke an additional law or acted in negligent manner, which proximately caused injury to another.
  2. § 23153(b): Driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or greater, and while driving, you broke an additional law or acted in a negligent manner, which proximately caused injury to another.

Elements – What does the prosecution have to prove in a DUI with injury?

While there is overlap, the elements that must be proved for each charge vary slightly.

1. California Vehicle Code § 23153(a): Driving Under the Influence
In order to be convicted of driving under the influence under California Vehicle Code section 23153(a), the prosecution must prove the following:

  1. You drove a motor vehicle;
  2. You were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time you drove;
    You are legally under the influence if "as a result of drinking an alcoholic beverage, your mental or physical abilities are so impaired that you are no longer able to drive a vehicle with the caution of a sober person, using ordinary care, under similar circumstances."

    In determining whether or not you are under the influence, there are many factors to consider like the manner in which you were driving, your blood alcohol content, whether you smelled like alcohol or slurred your words when talking with the police. The manner in which a person is driving is not enough, by itself, to determine you were under the influence.
  3. While you were driving, you broke an additional law or acted in a negligent manner; and
    Breaking an additional law may include offenses like speeding or running a red light. Even if you did not break an additional law, this element can be proved by showing that you drove in a way that a reasonable person would not have driven under the same circumstances.
  4. This unlawful act or negligence proximately caused injury to another person.
    In order to be convicted of a DUI causing injury, your actions must have actually caused the injury in question. For example, if you are driving, and another driver runs a red light and hits your car, then the accident and injury were not caused by you and a DUI with injury is not the appropriate charge.

2. California Vehicle Code § 23153(b): Driving with a BAC of 0.08% or greater In order to be convicted of driving under the influence under California Vehicle Code section 23153(b), the prosecution must prove the following:


  1. You drove a motor vehicle;
  2. When you drove, your blood alcohol content was 0.08% or greater; Unlike a violation of 23152(a) where the prosecution must prove that you were "under the influence of alcohol", under 23152(b) the prosecution must prove that your blood alcohol content level was .08% or great at the time you were driving. It is presumed that you were driving with a 0.08% blood alcohol content if your BAC is .08% or greater at the time of your blood, breath, or urine test.

    Even when your blood alcohol content test results were 0.08% or greater, you should still obtain a criminal defense attorney to establish legal defenses and fight your case. For example, just because your BAC was 0.08% at the time of your test does not mean it was above the legal limit while you were driving or sometimes there are errors with the testing device. DUIs can be complicated and highly technical – it is important to have a qualified attorney evaluate your case and assist you in the process of reducing and fighting these charges.
  3. While you were driving, you broke an additional law or acted in a negligent manner, and Even if you did not break an additional law like speeding or running a red light, this element can be proved by showing that you drove in a way that a reasonable person would not have driven under the same circumstances.
  4. This unlawful act or negligence proximately caused injury to another person. In order to be convicted of a DUI causing injury, your actions must have actually caused the injury in question. For example, if you are driving, and another driver runs a red light and hits your car, then the accident and injury were not caused by you and a DUI with injury is not the appropriate charge.

Our defense attorneys at Hamasaki Law will guide you through the process from the moment we are contacted until your matter is resolved. Our attorneys will take the time explaining your various options, and we will work together to determine the best approach to fighting your case. Contact us now to discuss your case and let us help you through the process.



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