Getting arrested on suspicion of drinking and driving after a car accident can mean serious legal problems. Especially if somebody got seriously hurt. Oklahoma’s statute criminalizing DUI crashes involving bodily injury imposes heavy penalties if those injuries were severe.
What is ‘great bodily injury’?
The section of the statute dealing specifically with great bodily injury defines that level of harm as an injury that creates a “substantial risk” of:
- Serious, permanent disfigurement
- Protracted loss or impaired function of any body part or organ
This crime is a felony. For a conviction, the statute requires a prison sentence of one to 10 years and a fine of up to $5,000.
The crime of DUI involving great bodily injury involves two issues: whether the defendant was over the legal limit for alcohol and whether the other person’s injuries rose to the level of “great bodily harm.” Useful evidence could include the injured person’s medical records and whether the police accurately measured the defendant’s blood-alcohol level (BAL). The machine that measures BAL must be properly calibrated and applied to get an accurate reading, and human error is always possible.
Figuring out what to do about a felony DUI charge
Every DUI case is different, but one thing they have in common is that you must take the charges seriously. This means protecting your rights and preparing a sound legal strategy. Before you plead guilty, you should always consider your options, including taking the case to trial. Depending on the circumstances, you might be able to get the charges dismissed or reduced significantly. But most people don’t know the best way to proceed in their case until they have spoken to a defense attorney.