Any Orange County DUI lawyer will tell you that a DUI accident is punished far more severely than just a DUI. Although first offense drunk driving usually doesn’t get jail time, that all changes in the case of a DUI accident. This tough stance is not surprising considering a spike in DUI accident deaths reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If the accident caused injury to another person, then you can be charged with a felony and sentenced to state prison. The worse the injury from the DUI accident, the stiffer the sentence.
However, just because you had been drinking before the accident doesn’t automatically make it a DUI accident. The District Attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the alcohol in your system was either at 0.08% or higher at the time of driving. Often the blood test or breath test was administered hours after the driving. If they can’t prove that, they must prove that you were so impaired by the alcohol in your system that you were unable to operate your vehicle with the same care as a sober person. (Vehicle Code Section 23152(a))
First Offense DUI Accident
In Orange County, a first offense DUI ordinarily will draw no jail time. If there is an accident, however, the DA usually tacks on ten days in the Orange County jail or CalTrans labor. A good Huntington Beach DUI attorney can often help. This minimum enhancement is given if the non-injury DUI accident was minor with no injuries. The worse the damage, the greater the punishment. If the DUI accident resulted in injury to another person, that takes it to a whole other level. Now, you can be charged with a felony under Vehicle Code Section 23153. This could result in up to three years in prison. If there was “great bodily injury” then there is more prison time. And if the victim dies, you could face murder or manslaughter charges. In any case, you will need to talk with a skilled Newport Beach DUI attorney.
The court fines and fees for a first offense DUI are about $2,100.00. This doesn’t include the cost of the alcohol program, which will cost from $500.00 to $1,300.00, depending on the class you will have to take. A good Orange County DUI attorney will often be able to persuade a judge to let the defendant do 49 hours of community service in lieu of $1,700.00 in fines. You will also be on informal probation or formal probation for the next three to five years. You will also be required to make restitution for any damage not covered by the victim’s insurance. This could include medical expenses and lost time.
Second Offense DUI Accident
If you have a prior DUI within the past ten years then you will be charged with second offense DUI. A second offense without a DUI accident will typically draw 60 to 90 days of jail. But if there was also a DUI accident, you can expect a sentence closer to six months or a year, depending on how bad the accident and driving was. And, again, if the DUI accident results in any injury to anyone other than the defendant, the DA has the option to file the case as a felony. Anyone facing charges for a second offense DUI really should consult with several DUI attorneys in Orange County. A Westminster DUI attorney will review the alternatives to jail.
The fines and fees imposed by the Orange County court for a second offense DUI are pretty much the same as a first offense. You will be ordered to pay any restitution to the owner of the property damaged, as well as medical bills not covered by insurance.
DUI Accident With Hit And Run
If you fled the scene after the DUI accident then you will also be charged with hit and run. Moreover, the fact that you left the scene will be taken into account by the DA when deciding how much jail time to give. In Orange County, for a first offense DUI with a hit and run form a minor accident the DA typically adds ten days of Orange County jail. This sentence gets longer if the damage was severe or the driving was egregious. Please discuss your case with a seasoned Fullerton DUI lawyer.
Free Telephonic Consultation With An Orange County DUI Attorney
At The Law Office of EJ Stopyro we offer a free and confidential telephonic consultation. Mr. Stopyro will evaluate your case and help you explore your options. Call us now at (949) 559-5500. EJ Stopyro has been successfully defending DUI cases in the Orange County courts for over 15 years.