If an individual is injured in an accident while driving home from the bar with alcohol in their system, they face certain penalties that they may be able to avoid in some cases. If a driver causes injury to another person in an accident involving driving under the influence, the driver could be charged with a felony, which could lead to hefty fines along with jail time or prison sentences.
In States With a Zero-Tolerance Policy
As of 1988, every state has a zero-tolerance policy regarding drinking and driving. In most cases, drunk driving is defined as driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, but it can be as low as 0.02% in some cases, particularly for minors and individuals under the age of 21.
If police officers suspect anyone of driving under the influence, they have the right to pull them over and request a breathalyzer or blood test. Refusal to take the test could lead to automatic suspension of the driver’s license. Regardless of how intoxicated the driver is and whether they’re legally drunk, they may face serious penalties.
Accidents Involving DUIs or DWIs
Depending on the state, the definitions for driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) are different. In some states, a DUI is only reserved for minors, while a DWI applies to adults. In states where they’re different, the penalties for a DWI may be more serious than those for a DUI.
The seriousness of the penalties for either a DUI or DWI will depend on a number of factors, including whether the offender had prior convictions or exhibited certain behavior to result in aggravated charges. Normally, a DUI or DWI qualifies as a misdemeanor, but it could turn into a felony in the event of a DUI or DWI accident that results in injuries to others.
Felony convictions come with more severe penalties compared to misdemeanors. Even if the driver who engaged in drunk-driving was the only one who sustained injuries in an accident, it’s still possible to face various levels of misdemeanor charges.
Rights Available to Drivers Facing a DUI or DWI Conviction
If an individual faces a DWI conviction, they may still be able to avoid misdemeanor or felony convictions, depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident and a car accident claim.
For instance, with the help of an attorney, it’s possible to investigate the case and determine if police officers mishandled the case or lied about the events that transpired. Individuals may also be able to fight to have charges either reduced or dropped altogether, particularly if arresting officers violated the arrestee’s rights.
Ultimately, if a driver is injured in an accident while returning home after drinking, they may face a DUI or DWI conviction, in which case they may still have the chance to fight the charges. Through proper legal representation and a strong case, individuals may be able to fight to reduce or eliminate charges based on the unique circumstances of the accident and arrest.