The Law- DUI with Injury to Another

Felony DUI

Penalties and Punishment for a DUI with Injury to Another

The Vehicle Code section that governs a DUI with injury to another is section 23153.  23153 is a “wobbler” which means that it can be charged as either a felony dui or a misdemeanor dui.  The decision how to charge the crime will be based on (a) the severity of the injuries to the victim, (b) the other circumstances of your arrest and (c) your criminal history.  So one of the first goals of your attorney is to get the DA to reduce the charge from a felony DUI to a misdemeanor DUI.

Misdemeanor Penalties:  The penalties for a violation of Vehicle Code section 23153 are:

  • Probation:  Three to five years of summary probation
  • Jail:  Five days to one year in county jail
  • Fines:  The base fine is $390 but by the time the court is finished, expect your fines to run in the $2,000 to $5,000 range.
  • Restitution:  You will have to pay the victims for their medical bills, repair bills, etc.  The laws can be harsh in this area.  For example, if the victim has medical insurance and that insurance covers his injuries, you still have to pay the victim–directly–the total amount of his bills.
  • DUI School:  DUI School is based on how many priors you have or how high your BAC was.  (Three to nine months for a first offense and eighteen to thirty months for a multiple offender.)  See DUI school section on penalties for first, second or multiple offense where this issue is addressed.
  • License Suspension:  You are looking at a one to three year driver’s license restriction.

Felony DUI Penalties under Vehicle Code 23153:

  • Prison:  Sixteen months to ten years in prison and an additional one to six year prison sentence, served consecutively.  The additional sentence will be based on how many people were injured and how serious their injuries were.
  • Potential Strike-  There is the possibility that a “strike” can be placed on your record pursuant to California’s Three Strikes Law.\
  • Fines:  Fines will run between $1,015 to $5,000
  • DUI School:  18 to 30 months.
  • Habitual Traffic Offender status for three years.
  • Restitution:  You will have to pay the victims for their damages.  See above.

Penalties- DUI with Injury to Another



If you are charged with a California DUI with Injury First Offense (Vehicle Code Section 23153), then you have been charged with driving under the influence or driving with a BAC of 0.08 or higher and, at the same time, of doing an act prohibited by law or failing to perform a duty mandated by law which results in injury to another person.

A California DUI with injury first offense crime is a “wobbler” which means that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony DUI.  Generally the seriousness of the injury to the other person(s) and your BAC and driving will be the factors determining how you will be charged.  If you are charged with a felony DUI, your main goal should be to get the charge reduced if it cannot be dropped.  This lowers the downside of your case.

Jail or Sheriff’s Work Program:  If you are charged with a first offense VC 23153, you can be facing anywhere from 5 days to one year (highly unlikely) in jail if you are placed on “court probation”, which means that you are not on formal probation.  Most defendants charged with a misdemeanor are placed on court probation.  The five days or more are generally done in work release rather than jail if the charge is a misdemeanor.

If you are placed on formal probation, you will be looking at a minimum of 90 days to one year in jail.

GBI Enhancement: Of course, if the victims suffered “great bodily injury” (commonly referred to as “GBI”) expect a felony charge.  The D.A. can get 1 year for each victim suffering great bodily injury) up to a maximum of three years in prison.

Fines:  Expect total fines to run in the low $2,000 range.

Restitution:  You will be required to make full restitution to the victim.  These laws can be onerous.  For example, the victim can claim the right to be paid the full cost of their medical care even if those bills were paid by their insurance.  Our advice is to have your insurance agent contact the victim immediately and make complete restitution for the damages they suffered.

License:  A conviction of VC 23153 will result in a one-year suspension of your license.  A restricted license is available after an initial suspension period.

DUI School:  Depending on your BAC it can be anywhere from three to nine months.  A BAC of 0.20 or higher will get you nine months in school.

Ignition Interlock Device:  You will have to have an IID device installed in your car for 12 months.

Impound:  The court has the right to impound your car for up to six months.  This is rarely done, as counties don’t like to be bothered with this.