It is not uncommon for people driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or narcotics to get into accidents with other vehicles or pedestrians. Many a time, drivers tend to assume that it is acceptable to drive when intoxicated, as long as they don’t collide with other cars or injure people. However, there are a number of instances where they have still crashed into trees, billboards, and other stationary objects on the road.
According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drinking and driving was more prevalent after midnight, and about 4.8 percent of drivers were found to be above the legal alcohol limit in 2014. During the same year, over 1.1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.
If you’ve been a victim of rash driving by a drunk driver and are considering filing a lawsuit for the property damage or personal injury claim, you must first have a thorough understanding of a DUI arrest, and how identifying the category of the crime will affect your negotiations.
Read on to know about the various types of DUI charges that can be used to file a lawsuit.
1. First DUI Offense
First DUI offense can be inferred when the defendant has no prior DUI offenses and hasn’t caused damage to property, injury to another, or death before this incident. In many cases, the defendants undergo probation for a certain time period. However, the court can still order them to serve time in a county jail as part of the probation.
In certain states, drivers found guilty of misdemeanor DUI offenses may be asked by the court to serve jail time. Along with probation and jail time, drunken drivers who have been caught for the first time will be suspended from driving for a specific period of time.
2. Multiple DUI Offenses
Lawsuits against drivers with multiple DUI offenses are generally handled in the same way as property damage or personal injury claims. The key difference between the two is that the evidence submitted in court for DUI cases will include a breathalyzer report for the driver. A multiple DUI offense means that you have a prior DUI conviction, and you may be charged with felony, depending on the severity of the previous and current charges.
As mentioned by an esteemed attorney with expertise in Georgia DUI accident laws, “The act of being intoxicated isn’t the sole reason for a car crash. It is the negligence on the driver’s part that causes damage. It’s essential for you to understand this subtle difference and then determine the category of DUI that applies to your case.”
3. Felony DUI Charges
Felony DUI charges can be brought against an accused when the accident has caused severe damage to property or loss of life. If there is a grave injury or death as a result of the driver’s DUI, then it can be charged as felony. Such a case is termed as DUI manslaughter and will surely lead to jail time and stricter punishment.
One of the reasons that may lead to felony DUI is if the driver has had three DUI charges within a decade’s time. He/she will be charged with felony DUI, irrespective of the time elapsed between the offenses.
4. DUI Causing Serious Bodily Injury
Situations of DUI that lead to serious bodily injury to the victim(s) is a felony charge. If you or someone whom you know has been harmed because of such reasons, then you should immediately seek legal assistance to sue the driver responsible for the damage.
In legal terms, a serious injury may be in the form of permanent disfigurement of the body, development of a life-threatening medical condition, or plausible loss or impairment of the function of an organ or limb.
5. Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
In some DUI cases, the accused weren’t impaired by alcohol, but had consumed illegal or prescribed medication. Whether it’s illegal drugs, medicinal drugs, or legally prescribed muscle relaxers, using them before driving is just as illegal as driving drunk, and can also constitute a DUI offense.
It’s easier to detect alcohol consumption, since a drunk driver’s level of intoxication can be determined by a measurement of blood alcohol content (BAC) using breathalyzers. But, the reporting officers may have to follow specific guidelines to determine drug impairments among drivers.
Federal and state laws governing DUI vehicle accidents and injuries can be too complicated to be understood by most people. You should consult a DUI lawyer if you or someone whom you know is harmed because of a DUI accident by another driver. Your lawyer can help you devise a strategy for your case based on the evidence and facts, and help you be compensated for your loss.
Hugh Madden is associated with the marketing division of T. Madden & Associates, P.C. He has specialized in developing unique and high-quality content for law practices, which can help the entire community. Further, he is responsible for implementing creative strategy, project management, and online branding to develop the business in public and private sectors.