A California DUI accident is a life changing event. Mothers Against Drunk Driving reports that 29 people die every day from a DUI accident. The driver accused of driving under the influence in a DUI accident will face serious criminal charges. A victim struck by a drunk driver will often face extreme injuries or even death and life lasting emotional trauma. Passengers, witnesses, and family members will all feel the lasting effects of a DUI accident.
1. The Victims Hit by a Drunk driver in a DUI accident will have a solid basis for a civil lawsuit
The victims of a DUI accident will have a strong legal claim for all damages caused by the alleged drunk driver. The insurance company representing the drunk driver is well aware of the potential financial exposure in these cases and they will often push the victims to settle quickly to minimize the damages. If you are the victim of a drunk driving accident, you should contact a California Personal injury lawyer immediately. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help make sure that you receive the proper medical care quickly regardless of your financial situation.
Injuries resulting from a car accident can last a lifetime. Sadly I speak from experience as I was the victim of drunk driver in 1997. Many injuries that result from sudden impact such as injuries to the back, neck, or internal injuries can take months or even years to fully manifest themselves. Do not deal directly with a representative from the insurance company of the alleged drunk driver. The insurance company does not have your best interest in mind.
If you need help locating an experienced California personal injury attorney, call me at 800-797-8406 and I can put you in touch directly with some of the best lawyers in California. These cases are taken on a contingency basis so there is no need to pay any legal fees up front. If you have been hurt by a drunk driver, call me now at 800-797-8406.
2. The Alleged Drunk Driver in a California DUI accident will be charged in Criminal Court
California Vehicle Code Section 23152 and 23153 are the charges most frequently filed following a DUI accident. VC 23152 will be used for cases where there are no injuries caused by the driver. This a misdemeanor charge that can result in jail time of up to six months in jail for a first offense and up to one year in the county jail if the driver has prior convictions. Enhancements and other related charges can add to the potential jail time.
California Vehicle Code Section 23153 will be used for cases where there are injuries caused by the driver. This charge is known as a “wobbler” under California law because it can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony. The extent and nature of the injuries sustained will usually be the primary factor in determining whether the case proceeds as a misdemeanor or felony. Other factors include prior criminal history, blood alcohol level, driving pattern, and any other factor that may persuade the District Attorney or Judge to believe that the conduct is felonious. Accidents causing serious injuries will also result in the filing of an enhancement for causing what is known as Great Bodily Injury or GBI pursuant to PC 12022.7. If this enhancement is found true, it can add an additional and consecutive 3 year prison sentence. Further, the GBI allegation will elevate the DUI charge to a serious and/or violent felony, making the case subject to the enhanced sentencing structure of the California 3 strikes law under PC 667 and 1192.
A DUI accident causing death can result in charges for vehicular manslaughter or even murder. Murder charges for a DUI accident in California are becoming increasingly common pursuant to the “Watson” theory. All California courts now routinely give the “Watson advisement” to any defendant convicted of a DUI.
I have been advised that being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or both, impairs your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Therefore, it is extremely dangerous to human life to drive while under the influence of alcohol, or drugs, or both. If I continue to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or both, and as a result of that driving someone is killed, I can be charged with murder
If you have been accused of being the driver in a DUI accident, please contact me immediately at 800-797-8406 to discuss your legal rights as the consequences you face in the California legal system can be severe. You can also visit my website here, or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. The Alleged Drunk Driver in a California DUI accident will face loss of driving privileges with the California DMV
The length of time that you will lose your license after a DUI accident will vary greatly from case to case. Even a first time DUI conviction with no accident will trigger a 6 month suspension under California law. A conviction for DUI causing injuries will carry a minimum one year suspension, and of course serious accidents causing great bodily injury (GBI) or causing death will result in more lengthy penalties.
In addition to the license penalties imposed as the result of a conviction in criminal court, California drivers are also subject to license suspension or revocation at the DMV level through California’s admin per se laws. These laws will trigger an automatic suspension process that is independent of the criminal court proceedings. In the case of a DUI accident, the California DMV may also choose to proceed with a revocation hearing if there is a finding the the driver’s conduct resulted in serious injuries or death to another party. These so called “fatality” hearings are increasingly common in California in recent years, even in cases that do not result in a death.
4. Passengers in any of the vehicles involved as well as family members will also have civil claims
The passengers in any vehicle involved in the accident as well as injured bystanders, pedestrians, cyclists, or witnesses have a claim as well. Even if you were the friend, family member or passenger of the alleged drunk driver, you have the legal right to be compensated for your damages. Any parent or legal guardian of a minor child involved in a DUI accident can bring a civil claim on behalf of the child. Surviving family members can bring an action for wrongful death on behalf of anyone killed in a DUI accident.
If you aren’t sure if you have a claim as the result of DUI accident in California, give me a call at 800-797-8406. I can offer you a free consultation to help determine if you have a potential claim. If you have the potential to recover damages, I can put you in direct contact with an excellent personal injury lawyer who specializes in DUI accidents.
5. The entire community is affected by a California DUI accident
A DUI accident is a tragic and avoidable event. Family members, co-workers, neighbors, and other loved ones all suffer after this kind of accident. Unfortunately the only person with the power to make the accident avoidable is the person driving under the influence. If you drink, please don’t drive. In 2018, more than 75% of adults own a smartphone. Download an UBER,LYFT, or yellowcab app and you can literally avoid this tragic situation with the push of one button.