Legal Matters Involved in DUI Accidents – Guest Post

DUI Accidents

It’s in everybody’s best interests to avoid drunk driving at all costs. First of all, anyone who operates a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs stands the risk of being injured or injuring someone else. Second, a DUI arrest can lead to criminal charges, even if it’s your first time regular DUI. And third, a DUI can have a major impact on your finances that is beyond fines and penalties.

Drunk Driving and Its Consequences 

Driving with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher is a criminal offense in all 50 states. Alcohol impairs decision-making, reaction time, and coordination. And these effects get worse the more alcohol you consume.

The penalties for a DUI conviction vary from state to state and the unique circumstances of each case, but a DUI charge, even a first-time DUI offense, can result in the following consequences:

  • Jail-time
  • Fines
  • Community Service
  • DUI School
  • Loss of Driving Privileges


The severity of a DUI punishment is determined by state laws and mostly based on how many DUI convictions the offender has had in the past. However, even a first offense DUI can result in harsher punishments if there are aggravating factors involved in the case.

Serious Penalties for DUIs Involving Accidents 

When a DUI conviction involves an accident, the repercussions are usually more severe. This applies to both non-injury accidents (with a stationary object) and accidents involving other people. The more serious the accident; the tougher the consequences can be.

Again, the charges will vary depending on the severity and circumstances surrounding the accident. A DUI accident that leads to the injury or death of another person is a felony offense and may also lead to criminal charges in addition to the DUI conviction.

Liability in a Drunk Driving Accident 

The liability for drunk driving accidents usually falls on the driver, but there are instances where vendors and hosts are also held responsible when their patron/guest causes a DUI-related accident.

The majority of U.S. states and the District of Columbia have passed and developed case laws holding vendors (such as bars and restaurants) and social hosts liable for the harm caused by intoxicated drivers they serve.

In cases where the driver is fully accountable for the accident, legal action can be brought against the driver. Moreover, the victims or their family can also file claims and seek compensation for medical expenses, loss wages, pain and suffering, and punitive damages from the driver’s insurance.

Sentencing Discretion and Drunk Driving Accidents 

It’s the judge’s prerogative to impose penalties for DUI convictions, as long as the punishments are within the allowable range. When making this decision, judges take into account the mitigating and aggravating circumstances of the offense.

Judges already consider drunk driving as a substantial strike against the offender, but even more so if the accident leads to serious injuries or deaths. As a result, judges are likely to sentence DUI cases involving accidents more harshly.

Also, DUI accidents can seriously hurt the offender’s ability to make a plea deal. Prosecutors are often willing to resolve DUI cases through plea bargaining, but only those without substantial aggravating factors. 

Building A Better Defense 

Prosecutors will want to charge you with the harshest possible sentence for your case. Before they can do that, though, they must prove that your BAC is over the legal limit and that your actions are responsible for the accident and the resulting injuries. If they can’t, your punishment will be less severe.

You hire a speeding ticket lawyer when you want to contest your traffic ticket. Naturally, you’ll also want to work with an experienced DUI attorney to represent you in court for a DUI charge. A skilled DUI lawyer will be able to present the facts of your case fairly and point out any factors that the prosecutor may overlook.

A DUI can have serious ramifications, especially if it results in an accident. Having a capable lawyer by your side will increase your odds of winning the case or at least lowering your sentence. 

Author Bio:

Michelle White is currently the Content Marketing Strategist for Arizona DUI Team. Aside from spreading awareness on DUI and vehicular-related offenses, she enjoys reading and hiking with her family and friends.

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