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Felony DUI in Orange County, California

DUI with Great Bodily Injury
Under California Vehicle Code section 23153, you can be arrested for a felony DUI if you proximately cause bodily injury to any other person. Even bodily injury caused to your passenger can result in felony charges. Important to note is that you must be found at fault for the collision. Great Bodily Injury refers to physical injuries but is based on case-by-case basis. Generally, the prosecutor will consider the severity of the injury, pain and required medical care.

Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated
Penal Code section 191.5 (a) gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought, in the driving of a vehicle, where driving was in violation of Section 23140, 23152 or 23153 of the Vehicle Code, and the killing was either the proximate result of the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony, with gross negligence, or the proximate result of the commission of a lawful act that might produce death, in an unlawful manner, and with gross negligence.

Penal Code section 191.5 (b) Vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought, in the driving of a vehicle, where the driving was in violation of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153 of the Vehicle Code, and the killing was either the proximate result of the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony, but without gross negligence, or the proximate result of the commission of a lawful act that might produce death, in an unlawful manner, but without gross negligence.

If you are convicted of a DUI, you are required to sign a Watson Waiver. The Watson Waiver states that you understand that if you are subsequently arrested for a DUI where a person is killed, you can be charged with second degree murder instead of vehicular manslaughter.

Past DUI Felony Conviction
You may be charged with a Felony DUI if you had a past felony DUI conviction within the last 10 years under California Vehicle Code section 23550.5 (a). A noted caveat to this provision is that the actual DUI charge must have been a felony. Other felony convictions related to the same case do not count in this scenario.

4th or Subsequent DUI
If you are arrested for a 4th or subsequent DUI within a ten year period, then you can face felony DUI charges. If you are facing felony DUI charges, you need to immediately consult with an experienced Orange County DUI attorney because the consequences could be very severe.