DUI Accidents and the Legal Matters Involved

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A DUI arrest brings with it several legal consequences, and those consequences become more serious when an accident is involved.
In DUI accidents, it isn’t just the drunk driver who has to attend to legal matters. The victims, whether another driver, a pedestrian, a passenger in the drunk driver’s car, or the family of those who died or were seriously injured in the said accident, also need to understand their rights under the law so they can take appropriate legal action. Here are some of the legal matters involved in DUI accidents that all parties need to understand.
The civil liability of drunk drivers
In any DUI accident, it is imperative for authorities to establish that the driver who caused the crash was indeed drunk when it happened.
Breathalyzers, field sobriety tests and blood tests should help the police determine the blood alcohol content (BAC) levels of the DUI offender. Once the tests confirm that the driver was indeed drunk, he or she will be exposed to civil liability suits from the victims of the accident.
As a respondent in a civil case, the at-fault driver may also be compelled by the court to compensate the victims who have filed property damage and personal injury claims.
Criminal liability
A DUI is already a crime, so those arrested for drunk driving will be prosecuted in court and if convicted, will have to pay stiff fines and will likely spend some time in jail, depending on the judge presiding over the case. The legal consequences are only going to become more serious in DUI accident cases, particularly when other people suffered injuries or there is property damage.
And when somebody dies because of the accident, the at-fault driver will be facing vehicular manslaughter charges, a felony with more severe consequences once the driver is convicted.
Dram shop laws
In DUI accidents, authorities are tasked to look beyond the drunk driver when determining liability. Under “dram shop laws,” DUI accident victims can sue business establishments that served drinks to a person who later caused the crash that caused injury, property damage, or death.
These dram shop laws, which are currently enforced in 38 states, also hold liable for any drunk driving accident the hosts of a social gathering who allow a guest whom they know to be intoxicated to get behind the wheel and drive away.
In cases where the drunk driver who caused the accident is a minor, victims can also file a case against the adults who provided alcohol to the at-fault driver. Some states are even stricter when it comes to their dram shop laws. If a minor causes a drunk-driving accident and law enforcement finds out that he or she had been drinking in a certain home right before the crash, its owners will be facing charges as well, and it doesn’t matter if they know the minor had been drinking inside their residence or not.
Whichever party you are in a DUI accident, it is important that you get an experienced DUI attorney by your side to help you see all the legal matters through until the conclusion of the case.

Arizona DUI Team

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