The new head prosecutor in Los Angeles has struck all special allegations. Meaning he has instructed his filing deputies not to file those allegations. So, the answer to the question is no.
The great bodily injury allegation should not apply to a felony DUI under California Vehicle Code 23153 VC in Los Angeles. The other surrounding counties still file that great bodily injury allegation. The reason that is so important is that that is a 3-year allegation. Meaning, if:
- you get in a DUI accident, and someone gets seriously injured,
- you would be charged with a felony DUI,
- there would also be a great bodily injury allegation against you if the injury was bad enough.
That would cause your exposure to go from three years for the felony DUI to six years for the felony DUI max, which is three, plus another three for the great bodily injury allegation. That's a massive move by the new head DA because it saves people years in prison.
Not only is your exposure lowered, but you're also less likely to get prison time, because when they've got six years hanging over your head, and there's a 3-year allegation, that makes it much more likely that the defendant in that scenario in Los Angeles is going to get a prison sentence.
Presumption of Probation for a Felony DUI
Now, if you're charged with a felony DUI, there's a presumption that:
- (1) they're not going to file the great bodily injury allegation against you in LA; and
- (2) there's a presumption that it's a probation case.
For the prosecutors to give you prison, they have to write a memo to the head prosecutors explaining why they think prison is the appropriate sentence versus probation.
So, this new policy by the LA County District Attorney's office related to striking enhancements is helping those individuals who are charged with DUIs that include a significant bodily injury allegation.
Misdemeanor DUI Charges – Vehicle Code 23153
That is a bit confusing because if you typically get involved in a DUI and are arrested, you will be charged with a misdemeanor.
I would say that 90% of people who are arrested and charged with DUIs in Los Angeles County are accused of misdemeanor charges. What ups it to a felony is if there is an injury.
That can even be more hair-splitting because the injury can't just be some soft tissue injury to jack it up to a felony. It has to be a severe injury.
So, where there was an issue in LA, which will probably be resolved, what's the difference between a severe injury and a significant bodily injury?
Now that they've struck that enhancement and they're not using it anymore, that, in my opinion, is going to clear that issue up. Then the problem is between whether it's a severe injury or just a general injury, which only warrants a misdemeanor.
DUI Lawyer in Los Angeles
So, if you or a loved one has been involved in an accident and you were driving under the influence of drugs or both, and you're charged with a felony DUI, you will, as it appears at least for the time being, escape that 3-year enhancement, at least while this District Attorney is in power, but you still need an attorney.
Pick up the phone. Ask to speak to Ron Hedding. Ask for a meeting with me.
We will talk about everything and design a plan to protect you, your rights, and your freedom.
Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436.
We serve people in all Southern California courts, including LA County, Orange County, Ventura County, Hollywood, Riverside, and San Bernardino.
Contact our office for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0963.