If you're charged with DUI and you had an accident that resulted in personal injury to others, you can expect much more severe penalties. In many states, the fact that you may have injured someone while driving under the influence of alcohol is known as "aggravated" or "escalated" DUI offense.
Several states have expedited procedures to quickly deal with the first-time DUI conviction. The thinking is that once is a mistake, and while serious, the state wants to resolve these cases as quickly as possible. Some consist of a small fine, probation and no license suspension. These procedures, however, are usually not available if you've hurt someone.
Most first-time DUIs without any injury are classified as misdemeanors. But, if you hurt someone, in many states the offense is escalated to a felony, with steeper fines and jail time.
If the person you injure dies from his or her injuries, you can be charged with manslaughter and even homicide. While a homicide charge may otherwise require proof that you intentionally killed someone, this may not have to be proven in a vehicular homicide/DUI case. The fact that you knowingly got behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated is enough in some cases to support a homicide prosecution. A few states have even charged drivers with capital murder for DUI accidents, which authorizes capital punishment.
If you are involved a DUI accident that causes personal injury, no matter how minor, you need to be represented by experienced competent counsel.