Personal Injury Attorney
In most auto accident cases, it starts with police officers arriving at the scene to take a report of the incident and offer help where needed. An officer may take statements from witnesses, describe the extent of damage to each vehicle, and ensure that anyone injured gets medical attention. If one of the drivers appears under the influence, they will include these signs of intoxication in the report. The officer may also require that the driver participates in a field sobriety test.
Types of Sobriety Tests/Alcohol Screenings
There are a couple different types of tests that the officer may have a driver perform. The most common are “field sobriety tests”, in which the driver is put through a series of physical/mental tests that are designed to determine whether someone is sober or not. The second is called “preliminary alcohol screening test”, where a breathalyzer is utilized at the scene to measure a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC). Based on the findings, the officer may choose to arrest a driver for a DUI and then transfer them to a health care center for further testing or the local police station.
Consequences For a DUI and Accident
The officer may assume that the driver who was under the influence had caused the accident, and their report may be biased against that driver. This is why it is important to not share more information than what is required for booking purposes and to ask for an attorney before cooperating further. Anything that the accused says from the arrest and on can be used against them.
Since a person was arrested for a DUI at the scene of the accident, they may be automatically assumed responsible. The driver arrested may even feel at-fault and remorseful for their actions. However, it is possible that there are other variables which contributed to the collision that the driver arrested for a DUI isn’t aware of yet. Never admit guilt verbally or in writing, even if you believe you are partially at-fault.
The consequences for a first-time DUI arrest often include the following:
- Suspension of license for up to one year
- 1-2 days in a county jail
- Requirement to attend DUI driver’s school
- Being placed on probation by a court judge
- Having to complete a rehabilitation program
- Thousands of dollars in fines
- Punitive damages to the supposed victim
About Punitive Damages
The supposed victim driver in the car accident may file a case against the DUI driver in an effort to collect on both economic and non-economic damages. And while being intoxicated behind the wheel surely isn’t going to help that driver’s case, it doesn’t automatically mean that they are at-fault. During this time it is imperative that a criminal defense attorney, like a criminal defense attorney in San Francisco, CA from the Morales Law Firm, is hired to represent the driver in the civil lawsuit.
- Economic Damages: medical expenses, damage to property, lost wages, and hospitalization bills, etc.
- Non-Economic Damages: loss of consortium, loss of enjoyment for life, and pain and suffering, etc.