Felony DUI with Great Bodily Injury
In California, a felony DUI, with great bodily injury is a serious offense that is almost always charged as a felony. These charges typically occur when they traffic collision occurs, while the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or both, resulting in significant physical harm to another person.
Under California law, a person can be charged with felony DUI with great bodily injury if they caused a collision that must fit within the definition of "great bodily injury". The definition of this term, depending on the specific circumstances, but it generally refers to any injury that causes a "substantial risk of death, permanent, disfigurement, or prolonged impairment of bodily function".
The range of potential penalties are quite severe. They can include fines, like a prison sentence and a permanent criminal record, not to mention extensive DMV consequences, not limited to loss of driving privilege.
Recent cases have discussed the intersection of blood alcohol concentration, test results, and a warrantless search. There are many cases that cover this issue but needless to say they are important because frequently, drivers are themselves injured, or unconscious, or have fled into their homes and are unable or unwilling to consent to have their blood drawn. In the event a warrant is unobtainable, courts have permitted the drawing of blood and even entry into the home to avoid destruction of evidence (People v. Thompson 2006)
Is worth noting that some recent cases address the issue of injury, and say that it cannot be "merely temporary or transitory". That might describe simple, bruises or small lacerations. There are additional cases that deal with the issue of whether a driver can be charged with felony DUI with GBI, even if they were not the direct cause of the accident. And a 2019 case, people versus Martinez the court concluded that the defendant could be charged with felony DUI, even though his collision was not the direct cause of the injuries. In that case, the defendant rear-ended another vehicle, while under the influence, but the victim suffered serious injuries as a result of a subsequent collision with another car.
If you or a loved one, find themselves charged with a felony DUI with great bodily injury, please call William Weinberg at 949-474-8008.