How Long Will I Lose My Driver’s License If I Am Involved In An Accident With Serious Bodily Injury?
You may or may not lose your driver’s license if you are involved in an accident with serious bodily injury. It depends on what, if anything, you are convicted of.
Typically, in accidents with serious bodily injury, if the DA can prove the elements of the case against you, then you are looking at a felony conviction. As part of that process, the DMV may suspend your driver’s license. In cases involving serious bodily injury, the suspension usually lasts for a minimum of a year. The suspension can last longer, depending on many different factors.
I should also mention that in many felony cases these days, there is also a possibility that the DMV will not suspend your license, and will instead opt to install an ignition interlock device in your car. This was not the case previously, but the law has eased up. The legislature in California changed the law because they understand that even if someone loses their license—even if they have no license at all—they are still going to drive, because in many parts of California you need to drive in order to survive. With the interlock device, you can at least ensure that when the person drives, they will be sober from alcohol.
Of course, the ignition interlock device cannot account for drugs, but it does markedly decrease the amount of driving a person can do while drunk. It is understood that someone is a lot more likely to drive sober if they have an interlock device installed, as a reminder and an enforcer not to drink and drive.
As such, the law has really opened up and allowed even people with multiple DUI convictions or felony DUI convictions to retain their license so long as they install an ignition interlock device.
However, they don’t decide to do this for everyone. The Court has discretion here as well, and they can just as easily decide to suspend a person’s license for a long period of time, or even indefinitely. We’ve seen the Courts simply ban defendants from driving for 5 years or 10 years. This is a huge amount of time to be without a car, especially if you live somewhere with no other form of transportation.
Every case is different. However, the more severe your case, the more likely you are to have a longer suspension of your license and/or installation of an ignition interlock device.
Can I Be Charged With A DUI With Bodily Injury If The Person Injured In The Accident Was My Passenger?
Yes, you can absolutely be charged for a DUI with bodily injury if the person injured in the accident was your passenger.
When the DA’s office decides on your charge, and when the cops decide what to arrest you for at the scene of the accident, two of the main things they look at are your state of sobriety/impairment and the injuries involved in the accident.
Generally, they will not charge you with a more serious DUI if you were the only person who was injured in the accident. However, if anyone else was injured—whether it was a driver/passenger in another car, or a bystander, or even someone else in your car—then they likely will charge you with a more serious DUI.
So, if you have three passengers in your car and they are all injured—providing the injuries are serious enough—you could be charged with three multiple victim enhancements. It should be noted that multiple victim enhancements stop at three: even if there were five people seriously injured in the accident, you would only get three years of additional multiple victim enhancement sentencing. Still, the point remains that your own passengers can count a more serious DUI if they are injured.
Is A DUI With Bodily Injury A Felony Or Misdemeanor Charge In Marin County?
Whether a DUI with bodily injury is considered a felony or misdemeanor charge is up to the DA or the District Attorney in Marin County. It usually depends on the severity of the injury involved.
For instance, I have seen many cases charged as misdemeanors where the injured parties only had soft tissue injuries and minor cuts. However, when the injuries get more severe, they almost always charge the DUI as a felony.
It doesn’t take much for the DA’s Office to re-book a case and change the charging decision from a misdemeanor to a felony. Now, just because you are charged with a felony by the DA’s Office doesn’t mean that’s how your case is ultimately going to wind up. However, if the injuries involved are more severe, then it’s more likely that the case will ultimately wind up as a felony charge. There are also other factors involved, such as your background, your record, and what you do in the many months and sometimes years between the incident and the conclusion of the case.
How Much Jail Time Am I Facing For A DUI With Injury In Marin County?
The amount of jail time you may face for a DUI with injury in Marin County depends on the details of your case.
If the injuries involved were minor, like a soft tissue injury or a small cut, and the charges remain in the misdemeanor range, you will typically be looking at no jail time (though if you do face jail time, you will only face a maximum of one year). Usually in those cases, though, it is much more common for a person not to face jail time. These days, a case like that might be diverted with a negotiated disposition, like a volunteer Sherriff’s Work Program.
If the DUI with injury leads to felony charges, then you may be looking at jail time—but how much more depends on what degree of charges are involved, how serious the details of the case are, and whether or not you are convicted.
For instance, if someone dies and you wind up convicted of second-degree murder, you will likely be facing a jail term of 15 years to life. However, most DUIs with injury come with lower sentencing—though there is the potential for additional sentencing enhancements. If multiple people were injured, for example, there is the potential for up to three years of additional time tacked on (which is known as “multiple victim enhancement”). There are many layers that go in to deciding what the maximum sentencing will be for a case like this, and what the defendant actually receives.
So, if you were driving and got in an accident that caused an injury and were then arrested for a DUI, the severity of the injuries involved (as well as several other major factors) decide whether or not you will face jail time. If the injuries were minor, the chances of you actually doing jail time in Marin County are slim, but you are still in danger of doing up to a year in jail if you don’t handle the case properly. If the injuries were more substantial or the case is considered a felony for other reasons, you may face serious jail time.
Whatever the circumstances of your case, if you were in a DUI accident that caused an injury, you absolutely need to get the best Marin County DUI defense lawyer you can find. Taking this step will be a big help in getting the lightest sentence possible, if you do get convicted.
For more information on Accident With Serious Bodily Injury In Marin County, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (415) 886-6333 today.