This is a big crime now because what I see happening is, in addition to be looking at a felony, prison time and a loss of a license, a lot of times what I see is that the prosecutors will tack on a great bodily injury allegation against a particular person that is really not warranted.
In other words, in order to have the great bodily injury allegations, the prosecutors have to show that the victim has a serious injury, because great bodily injury is beyond the standard for a felony DUI and it requires something more than just what's required in order to make a DUI a felony.
Great Bodily Injury Allegation
You're usually going to have to have a very serious injury. The reason this is such an impactful thing is that it adds three years onto a person's sentence.
In my experience, makes it a lot more likely that particular person who is charged with a felony DUI is going to go to prison, because it's very difficult to get the prosecutors to strike that great bodily injury allegation unless you can really show that it's truly not great bodily injury.
This is where things get a little bit confusing because for a DUI you need a serious injury. For great bodily injury, you need to take it a step beyond that and that's kind of a mirky line that has been drawn by the legislature.
Felony DUI is a “Strike” in California
Another ramification of that great bodily injury allegation in felony DUI cases in Los Angeles, is a strike. Any time someone gets great bodily injury attached to a crime, that makes that crime a strike for the three strikes law in California.
That is another reason a case will cause somebody to go to prison versus getting some sort of a county jail or non-jail sentence.
So, if you or a loved one is charged with a felony DUI and they've added on a great bodily injury allegation, you obviously need an attorney who is going to help you.
Even beyond great bodily injury, because not all felony DUIs require a great bodily injury allegation, you need some sort of serious injury.
I have seen some weird cases where prosecutors have charged felony DUIs when they shouldn't have, when they made the mistake of going too far.
Really, it's a glorified misdemeanor DUI, which is a huge difference because the person is nor necessarily looking at jail time, especially with a first-time misdemeanor DUI.
Mandatory Minimum 90 Days in Jail
The felony part of it really causes a problem, because if you get convicted of a felony DUI in Los Angeles, it's a mandatory minimum of 90 days in jail and that's just a starting point.
A lot of times, depending on the injury and the circumstances, the prosecutors want prison time. It's not always easy to get probation ion a felony DUI case.
That's why it's so important to get an attorney who has done a lot of these cases and really has a feel for what a case is worth, and I've been doing this for 26 years.
I've done thousands of DUIs; hundreds of felony DUIs and I have a pretty good feel for when someone should be charged and convicted on a felony versus a misdemeanor DUI in Los Angeles county.
I encourage you to pick up the phone. Make the call. I stand at the ready to help you.
Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0979.