Anytime a driver is arrested and charged with driving under the influence, the potential consequences of their actions can be severe. Even first-time offenders can face harsh punishments including steep fines and jail time.
For drivers who cause an accident while driving under the influence, they may be charged with a felony DUI. Felony charges can result in long jail sentences and loss of driving privileges for years. In addition to these criminal charges, drunk drivers may find themselves a named party in a civil lawsuit for any injuries they caused in their accident.
Developing a defense to such serious charges requires the skill and expertise of a Law Office of Scott Dattan DUI attorney. He or she will investigate the facts leading up to and surrounding your accident and subsequent arrest on DUI charges. The information obtained during this investigation will help establish a defense that can lead to the most favorable outcome possible regarding a suspected DUI-related accident.
Anytime a police officer initiates a traffic stop, probable cause must exist to do so. If you were involved in an accident and a police officer arrives on the scene, the fact that an accident occurred is often enough probable cause to temporarily hold the drivers on the scene for the purpose of conducting an investigation into the accident.
If the officer suspects alcohol may have been a factor in the accident, he or she may ask you to take a field sobriety test to confirm their suspicions. A refusal to submit to an on-scene test usually results in an automatic arrest and suspension of your license for a minimum of one year. After an arrest, blood may be forcefully drawn to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC).
Blood Alcohol Content After a Suspected DUI Accident
Each state has different laws regarding BAC tests after an injury-causing accident where alcohol use is suspected. Typically, these laws fall into two general categories: mandatory testing and discretionary testing.
About half of all states have mandatory testing laws for any crash that results in a fatality, whether or not alcohol use was suspected as a factor in the accident. In discretionary states, a BAC test may or may not be required post-accident.
Liability for Drunk Driving Accidents
Depending on the outcome of an accident investigation, drunk drivers may face both criminal charges and civil actions. If an accident resulted in death, the victim’s family can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver. To be successful in their claim, their car accident lawyer must show the driver was intoxicated and failed to exercise reasonable care when they got behind the wheel of a car. Often, witness statements, police reports, and expert opinions are used to establish liability in a civil suit involving a DUI accident.
The repercussions of driving under the influence can be life changing for all parties involved. For DUI suspects, their livelihood and freedom are at stake as they navigate complex criminal charges. As a result of an accident they caused, they may even find themselves involved in a costly civil suit.
Individuals suspected of driving under the influence should immediately consult with a DUI attorney for assistance. A suspect’s best chance of establishing a legitimate defense is by seeking the expert help of a lawyer familiar with these complex areas of the law.