Civil Infraction Causing Serious Injury
A driver committing a common civil infraction that results in serious impairment of another person’s body function might be guilty of a misdemeanor.
Civil Infraction Causing Injury or Serious Impairment of a Body Function
In Michigan, it is a crime to violate a civil traffic law, like speeding, failure to yield to an oncoming vehicle, or texting while driving, if the infraction results in a severe injury. The injury must cause impairment of a victim’s bodily function. This misdemeanor is a “strict liability offense,” meaning that the driver is guilty even without the intent to do something illegal or injure someone. The government does not have to prove the driver was negligent.
What is a “serious impairment of a body function”?
A serious impairment of a body function is an objectively manifested impairment of an important body function that affects the person’s general ability to lead a normal life. A severe effect on the person’s ability to lead a normal life is not required. It is enough if the body function impairment impacts the person’s ability to live normally.
Civil Infraction Causing Serious Injury Penalty
A person convicted of a Civil Infraction Causing the Serious Impairment of a Body Function faces a sentence of up to 93 days in jail, two (2) years of probation, fines, and court costs. There is no mandatory minimum sentence. By working with a qualified lawyer who specializes in criminal cases, the defendant might be able to avoid jail and probation. Probation means supervision by the court and typically includes orders to avoid contact with the police, abstinence from drugs and alcohol, a curfew, enrollment in school or full-time employment, therapy or driving classes, and other terms and conditions set by a judge.
Defense Against a Civil Infraction Causing Serious Injury Charges
The Michigan law criminalizing a civil infraction causing a serious injury requires that the moving violation or civil infraction, together with the operation of a motor vehicle, cause the serious impairment of a body function. In other words, the traffic violation must cause the injury, not just the vehicle’s operation. Some accidents are just accidents and should not be criminalized. If the driver exercised due care and caution, they are likely innocent.
Unfortunately, some people hope to “cash in” when they are in an accident by falsifying or exaggerating an injury. If a skilled attorney can successfully discredit the severity of a victim’s alleged injury, the prosecutor might dismiss charges, or a jury can acquit the defendant at trial. In these cases, it might be helpful to seek the input and assistance of a qualified expert witness. The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has worked with dozens of medical experts while defending clients against Civil Infraction Causing Serious Injury and other related charges.
Frequently Asked Questions About Civil Infraction Causing Serious Injury
“Is a Civil Infraction Causing Serious Injury conviction admissible in a civil lawsuit?”
A Civil Infraction Causing Serious Injury conviction, by trial or plea, is admissible in a civil lawsuit for money damages due to a traffic accident. An experienced and reputable lawyer can seek dismissal of charges if there is a viable, credible defense. Suppose there is no reasonable defense to the civil infraction. In that case, the lawyer can seek a plea bargain to reduce charges or seek the judge’s permission for a “no contest” plea that is not admissible in civil litigation.
“If I was not arrested and was released without charges, should I wait to see what happens?”
It is in your best interest not to wait and see what happens if you are under investigation for a Civil Infraction Causing Serious Injury. Prosecutors assume most people will have a court-appointed lawyer they can easily railroad in court. The intervention of a qualified pre-charge criminal attorney can help the accused avoid charges altogether. If charges are unavoidable, a lawyer can guide their client to mitigate the charges and any sentence the judge might impose. For example, it might help the driver to get a professional driving skills evaluation, take a driver’s improvement course, obtain therapy or medical records, get letters of community support, or take other steps to improve their situation. Because there is no one-size-fits-all solution, an experienced attorney must look closely at the client’s circumstances to determine the best strategy.
“What are common civil infractions in Michigan?”
Common civil infractions that can result in criminal charges in the event of an accident resulting in serious impairment of a body function include the following:
- Speeding or Speed Limit Violations.
- Distracted Driving (Such as Texting).
- Running a Red or Yellow Light
- Failure to Stop Within Assured Clear Distance
- Lane Violations
- Careless Driving
- Failure to Come to a Complete Stop at a Stop Sign
- Entering a Roadway Without Stopping
- Blockading or Impeading Traffic
Seeking Dismissal of Civil Infraction Causing Serious Injury Charges and Avoiding Jail
A person’s best hope of avoiding a Civil Infraction Causing Serious Injury conviction and jail time is a skilled, aggressive, and reputable defense lawyer. The defense attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have extensive experience and an unparalleled record for successfully defending clients on felony and misdemeanor charges in Michigan. Call us for a free consultation and confidential case evaluation. An experienced lawyer will answer your questions and work with you to develop a winning strategy. We will find a way to help you!
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.