Joseph P. Hougnon, Attorney at Law

Injury Related DUI Cases Can Be Charged as Misdemeanors or Felonies


DUI accidents where a driver causes an injury to another person are known as “wobbler” cases. This means a defendant can be charged with either a felony or a misdemeanor. The primary determining factor is the nature and the scope of the injuries that were a result of the collision.

Unfortunately, when an officer arrives on scene and learns that someone has been drinking, they tend to automatically assume that that person is to blame. Many times, accident reports are written with that bias and based on that assumption.

Defending Against an Injury-Related DUI Charge

The circumstances of a particular case will drive how a defense strategy is crafted. The good news is that there are many actions a seasoned defense attorney can take to help mitigate any charges a defendant might be facing.

The overall goal is to find a way to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor, and when possible, to reduce a misdemeanor to an infraction. The differences in the severity of the penalties are significant. For this to happen, an attorney must be familiar with local courts, prosecutors, and judges to maintain an open line of communication and trust, which will work in a defendant’s favor. Crafting deals that meet the needs of a prosecutor and the courts, while minimizing impacts to a defendant can be difficult at times, but certainly achievable.

Defending against an injury-related DUI charge in Sacramento starts the same way as defending against any DUI charge. Your attorney will look at all possibilities to prove that you were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol or that your blood alcohol level was not reported accurately.

From there, the attorney will also look at all aspects of the investigation, arrest, and breath-testing procedures making sure that all rules were followed. If they were not, this opens the door to challenge the charge and either seek dismissal or a reduction in charges. In some cases, it may make sense to retain the services of an accident reconstruction expert to see if the defendant was truly at fault.

Joseph P. Hougnon serves clients in Sacramento and other nearby northern California communities.

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About the Author

Since 1996, Joe Hougnon, Esq. has provided the best legal services for DUI, Criminal charges & personal injury cases in northern California.