Driving under the influence causing injury is defined under California Vehicle Code VC 23153 as when a person drives under the influence and causes bodily injury to another person. Under the law, that person may be a passenger in the driver’s vehicle, another motorist, or a pedestrian. The charge is known as a “wobbler,” meaning that it can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. As a result, if convicted, the repercussions are not as predictable.
The penalties of being convicted of DUI causing injuries can vary depending upon the circumstances of the accident and the criminal history of the driver. A conviction of misdemeanor DUI causing injury can result in a minimum term of five days to one year in jail. A conviction of felony DUI causing injury can lead to a term of two, three, or four years in a California prison.
The Santa Maria Times reports that a wrong-way collision in Orcutt injured two people and is suspected of being alcohol-related.
The crash occurred on Tuesday just before 9:45 p.m. just north of Highway 135 and Highway 1. The are of the crash is often known as the “Y” intersection near Orcutt.
According to the California Highway Patrol, 26-year-old Fidel Ortiz-Pausano was driving northbound in the southbound lane of Highway 135. He collided head-on with a Toyota Highlander that had been traveling in the opposite direction in the same lane.
Both drivers only sustained minor injuries in the crash, but both vehicles were significantly damaged.
Ortiz-Pausano was subsequently arrested on suspicion of DUI causing injury.