Charged With DUI After Getting Into a Car Accident

It might be quite challenging to fight a DUI accusation that involves an automobile collision. In addition to carrying harsher legal repercussions, it may also be traumatizing. Even if someone was harmed or even if someone passed away, you can still fight a DUI accident charge. It’s not necessary for a DUI conviction to taint your life.

You must fully comprehend how the accident affects the processes and the consequences you face in order to effectively defend against a DUI.

How does a car accident change a DUI charge?

The prosecution will seek harsher sanctions for all DUI accidents. However, the specific charges that the prosecutor may bring depend on how serious the accident was. We’ll categorize incidents into three groups for ease of understanding: those that result in no injuries, those that result in mild injuries, and those that result in major injuries. DUI accidents that result in fatalities will be covered separately.

DUI Accident with no Injury

A famous illustration of an accident in which no one is hurt is a fender bender. Although there was some damage caused by the collision of two automobiles, everyone is still alive and well.

You probably won’t be charged with any crimes other than DUI under these instances (and any traffic laws you broke). The lowest and maximum fines are the same as if there had been no accident whatsoever. But, the prosecutor will push for a sentence that is closer to the most severe of those sanctions.

For instance, a first-time DUI carries a penalty that might range from two days to 6 months in jail. If there isn’t an accident, you could receive the two-day minimum punishment. But even if no one was wounded, the prosecution can ask for three, 4, or even the entire six months in jail in the case of an accident.

drivers who are involved in accidents while driving under the influence can face criminal charges

DUI Accident with Minor injuries

If any accident participants, including your own passengers, report an injury, your case is altered. The charge is upgraded to a misdemeanor DUI resulting in injury when there are only minor injuries. It entails a minimum five-day prison term and a minimum one-year license suspension in addition to the standard DUI penalties. You will also be required to pay the harmed parties’ penalties and compensation. Keep in mind that if you’ve previously been charged with DUI, particularly DUI that resulted in injury, you might face a more severe charge and harsher punishment.

The definition of a “small” injury is arbitrary. Minor injuries include whiplash, severe bruising, and tiny cuts from windshield glass.

DUI Accident with Serious Injury

A fractured bone, a fracture, or a longer-lasting injury, such as one requiring surgery, are examples of serious accidents. You will often be accused of Felony DUI Causing Harm if this type of injury is present. A misdemeanor DUI is substantially less severe than a felony DUI.

The punishments include a minimum fine of $1,000 (often more) as well as one to 5 years in a correctional facility, plus additional time for each victim or “severe physical damage,” as well as additional years.

No of how slight or terrible the injuries were, if this is a third DUI with injury arrest, it will always be a felony.

DUI Accidents Result in Death

If someone is killed as a result of the accident, you will very certainly be prosecuted for Vehicular Manslaughter while Intoxicated. This accusation comes in a number of dangerous variations. Even the mildest form carries a maximum year in prison sentence. The state jail sentence for the felony version is up to six years.

motor vehicle accident-related injuries can be fatal

DUI Mishaps and Sentencing Flexibility

When an individual is convicted of a DUI, the judge is the one who gets to decide what punishments to impose, provided that they are within the bounds of the law. When making this choice, judges frequently consider the defendant and the incident’s aggravating and mitigating circumstances.

Particularly if there were serious injuries or fatalities, a court is likely to see a DUI collision as a serious offense. Judges are therefore more inclined to impose tougher punishments in DUI cases involving accidents.

Let’s say someone gets accused of a DUI for the first time. Five days to a year in prison might be imposed for a first DUI. A judge could be persuaded to sentence first-time offenders to the five-day minimum. However, the court is more likely to impose a sentence that is closer to the maximum of one year if a first-time offender causes an incident that results in injuries.

The Procedure Following a DUI Car Accident

Law enforcement’s arrival at the scene of the collision to record the occurrence, as is typical in most vehicle accident cases, marks the official beginning of the case. This may entail gathering testimony from witnesses, evaluating the severity of the vehicle damage, and confirming that any wounded parties receive the necessary medical attention.

Police will include indicators of drunkenness in their reports when they suspect a motorist of operating a vehicle while impaired and may ask the driver to do the following tests.

Field sobriety tests (FSTs) are a battery of physical and mental examinations intended to be challenging for those who are inebriated.

An on-site breathalyzer test to determine blood alcohol concentration serves as a preliminary alcohol screening test (BAC).

Following these tests, the police officer has the option to arrest the motorist for DUI. The motorist may then be taken to a police precinct or medical facility where a more thorough examination of the driver’s blood or breath might be done.

a DUI lawyer can help you with your DUI arrest after a drunk driving accident

The Consequences of Refusing a Drug Test

The officer may ask the motorist to provide a blood or urine sample in order to test for drugs if these tests do not reveal any detectable quantities of alcohol in the driver’s system but the driver still failed the first tests performed at the site of the accident. When checking the automobile, the police can possibly discover narcotics in your possession.

Although the driver has the option to decline, doing so is not recommended. For first-time DUI offenses, refusal may result in the following punishments:

  • Up to a year’s suspension of your license
  • two days or less in county jail
  • a second six-month period of mandatory DUI driver’s education

The first DUI accusation against the driver could still stand. The best course of action is often to submit to the required tests and consult with an experienced DUI defense attorney.

DUI-Related Accidents, Injuries, and Deaths: Criminal Charges

The culpable motorist may face penalties in addition to a DUI if a drunk driving event results in injuries or fatalities.

Some jurisdictions have laws that allow for vehicular assault charges to be brought against motorists who injure someone else while driving carelessly or under the influence. And if a drunk driver kills someone, they may be charged with vehicular manslaughter or perhaps even murder.

All of these offenses are often felonies, which frequently result in lengthy jail terms and high penalties. Additionally, drivers who are found guilty of several crimes often face different punishments for each conviction.

Defending Your Case

Plea negotiation is the primary method of resolving DUI charges. The purpose of a plea agreement for the defendant is to obtain a settlement that is at the lesser end of the permissible punishments.

However, prosecutors often only agree to provide this kind of plea arrangement in situations without significant aggravating circumstances. Therefore, it can substantially impede the defendant’s chance of reaching a favorable plea agreement when a DUI incident involved an accident.

a dui lawyer or a criminal defense attorney can help you with your DUI case

Talk to a DUI Attorney

A criminal conviction may significantly curtail your freedom. Your future may be constrained if you are found guilty. You could no longer be eligible for government housing, food assistance, or financial aid for school, for instance. It could be difficult to clear your identity, even if the accusations are untrue.

Furthermore, even a victorious trial might harm your image if handled effectively by a seasoned lawyer. Anyone being charged with a crime should indeed get in touch with a criminal defense lawyer right once. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can protect your rights and give you a sense of comfort.

Call us today to talk to one of our experienced DUI attorneys.