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San Rafael, CA DUI Accident Causing Bodily Injury Defense Lawyer

Mill Valley DUI Accidents Resulting in Death or Serious Injury Attorney

DUI Defense for Accidents Resulting in Death or Serious Injury in Marin County

California DUI laws impose significant penalties for accidents resulting in death or serious injury. If you are involved in a DUI accident that causes bodily injury or fatality, you are looking at heavy fines, potential imprisonment, and other harsh legal consequences if convicted. You may also have difficulty obtaining employment, housing, loans, and college admission, and you may face a denial, suspension, or revocation of a professional license. With so much at stake, it is important to have an experienced DUI defense attorney in your corner fighting hard to protect your rights and interests.

At Burglin Law Offices, P.C., we have successfully defended clients charged with these DUI offenses since 1985. Attorney Paul Burglin co-authors "the Bible of DUI defense", California Drunk Driving Law, a two-volume legal guide relied on by other attorneys throughout the state. Mr. Burglin is one of only five attorneys in the state that is Board-Certified by the National College of DUI Defense as approved by the American Bar Association. His extensive experience and successful track record make him the "go to" attorney for DMV hearing officers, prosecutors, and judges when someone close to them is charged for DUI in an accident resulting in death or serious injury.

DUI with Bodily Injury in California

California Vehicle Code (VC) §23153 is the statute pertaining to drunk driving resulting in injury. The offense may be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor (VC §23554). A prosecutor's decision whether to charge a VC §23153 offense as a felony or a misdemeanor is usually based on the totality of the circumstances, such as one's prior record, the nature of injury, and the number of victims or evidentiary issues. The offenses described in VC §23153 correspond to those set forth in VC §23152 with regard to driving under the influence, driving while addicted, or driving in violation of the per se alcohol limits.

There are also the following two additional elements in any VC §23153 charge:

  • Concurrently with the driving, a driver committed any act that is forbidden by law or neglected to perform any duty that is imposed by law; and
  • This act or neglect directly resulted in bodily injury to someone other than the driver.

DUI Vehicular Manslaughter

If you were involved in a DUI accident resulting in death or serious injury, you may be subject to a vehicular manslaughter charge. There are two different categories of vehicular manslaughter that may apply to your case:

  • Penal Code §191.5(a) (with gross negligence): If you are convicted of violating Penal Code (PC) §191.5(a) (vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence), you are subject to four, six, or 10 years in state prison. If you have one or more prior convictions for vehicular manslaughter or DUI, you are subject to 15 years to life in state prison.
  • Penal Code §191.5(b): A criminal conviction for vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence could be either a misdemeanor or felony. Thus, you are subject to the possibility of one year, 16 months, 2 years or 4 years in the county jail.

DUI Murder (Watson)

The most serious charge related to driving under the influence is that of second-degree murder, Penal Code §187 (also known as "Watson Murder"), based on the implied malice theory. If you are convicted of Penal Code §187 (second-degree murder), P.C. §190 states that you will face an indeterminate sentence of 15 years to life, or 25 years to life if the victim is a police officer killed in the performance of his or her duties and you knew or should have known the victim was a police officer.

Upgraded Charges in DUI with Bodily Injury Cases

If you are a defendant in a DUI accident case, there is a reality you should be mindful of. Other persons involved in an accident involving a drunk driver will often tell the police they are not injured or will claim some minor ache or pain and decline medical treatment. Yet days later, they may either start experiencing greater pain or find a civil lawyer willing to make that claim on their behalf. Sometimes, what appears to be a minor injury turns out to be a fractured bone, and then suddenly you are facing a felony DUI charge with great bodily injury - a sentencing enhancement that can land you in prison for six years on a first offense case.

Contact a Skilled Marin County DUI with Bodily Injury Lawyer

Defendants in DUI accidents resulting in death or serious injury can be subject to heavy fines and years of jail or prison time. If you are in this circumstance, it is critically important that you speak with experienced legal counsel before making any further statements to the police, insurance agents, or investigators.

Attorney Paul Burglin thoroughly understands the California DUI process and the most effective defense strategies to minimize the negative consequences of a DUI with great bodily injury charge. For a personalized consultation with attorney Burglin, contact our office today at 415-729-7300. We serve clients throughout the Bay Area, including Marin County, Tiburon, Sausalito, Mill Valley, Larkspur, San Rafael, Novato, San Anselmo, and Fairfax. We handle locals and tourists cited in the wine country, Sonoma and Napa, as well as those cited in San Francisco, Oakland, and Martinez.
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