Can a misdemeanor DUI be changed to a felony if there are delayed injuries?
(Costa Mesa, CA)
I reared ended a truck going about 20 mph in Costa Mesa, CA. The driver/passengers of the vehicle I hit reported no injuries to the police and left the scene. I was issued a misdemeanor DUI. It has been a few weeks and my insurance is just now calling to tell me the prior claim is not valid and that the driver/passenger involved was seeking medical treatment.
My question is, in California is it required by law for either of our insurance companies to report this change to the authorities (i.e. passengers will now be seeking medical treatment for injuries sustained in the accident)?
Will my misdemeanor turn into a felony because of this? Or will my charges stay the same since they have already issued me a misdemeanor? It is my first offense. I don't have any prior traffic violations. Thank you for any information.
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ANSWER for "Can a misdemeanor DUI be changed to a felony if there are delayed injuries?":
Johnnie (Costa Mesa, CA):
California does not have a statute requiring insurance companies to turn over information about a civil insurance claim to the authorities. Of course, in a DUI case the prosecutor can subpoena the information, especially if you plead not guilty and request a trial.
A prosecutor can dismiss a misdemeanor and seek an indictment for a felony DUI. This is true only if you have not already plead guilty to the misdemeanor, or were found guilty after trial. At that point, seeking a new indictment for the DUI would constitute double jeopardy.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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