One of the most tragic causes of accidents on the road today is drunk or influenced driving. Despite all of the warnings and research, people still get behind the wheel of a car under the influence every single day. These accidents represent a large portion of the crashes across the country every year and represent both civil and criminal offenses. Unfortunately, it is still a reality and one that hopefully most drivers never have to face.
Violating the Law
If someone is drinking and driving, they’re violating California law. The California Vehicle Code Sec 23152 states: (a) It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle.
The law is also clear about what represents vehicles driven under the influence. According to the California Vehicle Code, even a bicycle is a vehicle that can be included as a crime. California Vehicle Code Sec 670 states: A “vehicle” is a device by which any person or property may be propelled, moved, or drawn upon a highway, excepting a device moved exclusively by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks. There are many vehicles that drivers can be cited for in a DUI case– all the more reason to drive sober.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2012 over 10,000 drivers were killed due to drunk driving across the country. The rate of death in the state of California is about 0.28– lower than the national average but still high in overall traffic fatality rates. Unfortunately, it is sometimes a dangerous road out there for drivers.
In higher traffic areas, such as the Greater Los Angeles Area, there is a higher than average rate of DUI accidents. Unfortunately, this could include multiple cars and possibly pile ups. DWIs cost far too many lives, especially for vulnerable car and motorcycle motorists. Due to high rates of speed and poor control, often there are severe issues commonly caused by such accidents.
Acting After an Accident
After such an accident, it is important to act quickly. Seek immediate medical care and make sure to document as much as you can at the crash site. The drunk driver should also be held to account. The driver may be facing criminal charges for a DUI or DWI, but there should be a civil punishment for their actions as well. If it can be proven that the other driver was under the influence, making sure that they are held responsible can be your contribution to society. Your actions could prevent another accident down the line and save another family heartbreak.
Making sure that you have an experienced legal advocate by your side is one of your first steps. A legal expert, such as one from the Ehline Law Firm PC that is also specialized in car accidents and DWIs will be able to point you in the right directions. We’ve handled hundreds of similar cases, winning results for our clients. Feel free to call us any time day or night at 888-400-9721.
The driver under the influence can be faced with civil penalties if the victim decides to proceed, criminal charges from a prosecutor for their actions, or the revocation of their license by the DMV.
Watch below to see an example of a DMV administrative hearing:
Drivers that were under the influence has ten business days to request an administrative hearing with the DMV. If they do not, they face a permanent suspension of their driver’s license through automatic suspension. Facing a DMV hearing, normal court rules of evidence do not apply. The accused is not allowed to plead the 5th Amendment and could be coerced by a prosecutor to accidentally imply guilt. The hearing officer just needs to verify that the arresting agency had a reasonable belief that the rider was intoxicated or under the influence, that the accused committed the offense, and that the arrest was made pursuant to the law.
The last thing the hearing will determine is if the driver had a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or higher, as seen in CVC Section 23152. The accused that are not represented by a legal eye often lose these hearings and have to pay significant penalties, both financial and otherwise.
Many accused drunk drivers are accused of their alleged crime in court. They face DUI accusation for their actions and face a potential bias by possible jurors, other drivers, and the police. Many accused of such a crime feel as though they have nowhere to turn and can face up to a three year probation, AA meetings, fines, MADD classes, trash pick up, or other penalties for a first offense causing no injuries.
If the accident caused injury or death, the alleged can face severe penalties. Drinking and driving is such a severe issue on the road that any sympathy is not to be expected.
Even after facing the DMV and the criminal court, the accused may also face a claim in civil court. Those injured by the drunk driver could be brought up in court for liability questions. They could be sued for negligence for not having insurance or not having enough coverage. The victim is likely to ask for their pain and suffering, medical bills, and therapy to be covered by the other driver.
Avoiding Drunk Driving Accidents
By no means a foolproof process, there are some manners to avoid such an accident in the future. Keeping an eye out for drivers making wide turns, going into both lanes, sudden braking, driving very fast or slow, driving the wrong way, or other actions can be considered telltale signs of drunk driving.
But remember not to drink at all. If you do, make sure to have a designated driver or call a taxi, limo, or bus.
Contact a Legal Professional
Skilled attorneys have seen it all and are ready to help. If you have been injured in a severe car accident caused by alcohol or accused of such a crime, Ehline Law can help. Our experience in hundreds of similar cases have gotten results. We stand ready to hear your case 24/7 and to assist. For more information, please fill out the email form to the right or call us at 888-400-9721.