On Sunday, November 10th, a Castaic woman was arrested by deputies on suspicion of DUI causing injury. According to reports, deputies from the Santa Clarita Sheriff Station responded to the scene of a 3-vehicle accident on Golden Valley Road. During the investigation, deputies noticed one of the drivers involved in the collision had difficulty standing and smelled strongly of alcohol. After a breathalyzer test, the female motorist registered a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) of .20. The legal limit for driving under the influence is a BAC of .08 or higher. The suspect, A. Gifford of Castaic, was arrested on suspicion of DUI causing injury and transported to the hospital for medical care.
DUI causing injury is covered under California Vehicle Code 23153 VC and is defined as driving under the influence and causing another person to be injured as a result. “Driving under the influence” has many definitions in California, including driving while under the influence of drugs (as opposed to alcohol), driving with a BAC of .08 or higher, and sometimes, even if a person’s BAC is less than .07, but their judgment and ability to operate a motor vehicle have been severely impaired.
In order to prove that a person is at fault for driving under the influence and causing injury, a prosecutor must prove
- You violated California’s DUI laws
- While you did that, you acted in a negligent manner or broke one of California’s other laws
- Your unlawful action or negligence resulted in an injury to another person
The consequences of the crime vary significantly depending on the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s prior criminal history (especially DUI history – if they have one). If the defendant is charged with a misdemeanor, they face the possible penalties of summary probation, 5 days to 1 year in county jail, $390 – $5000 in fines, a 3, 9, or 30-month alcohol or drug education program, possible suspension or revocation of the defendant’s driver’s license, and possible restitution to any and all injured parties.
If charged as a felony, the possible penalties include 2, 3, or 4 years in California state prison, an additional and consecutive a 3 to 6-year prison sentence if anyone suffered great bodily injury, a “strike” on their record under California’s “3 Strikes Law,” between $1,015 and $5,000 in fines, 18 to 30-month court-approved DUI school, habitual traffic offender (HTO) status for 3 years, and a 5-year revocation of the defendant’s driver’s license.