Civil Drunk Driving Lawsuits Compared to Criminal DUI Cases
Drunk Drivers are subject to arrest for criminal charges if they are found intoxicated at the scene an automobile accident. If you were injured in an accident because of an intoxicated driver, you may also have the right to bring forth a private lawsuit against that driver to recover compensation. Criminal and civil lawsuits are separate matters, so you must tend to each individually.
After a car accident occurs involving a suspected intoxicated driver, call the police immediately. The police officers can determine whether or not a person was intoxicated driving behind the wheel. Typically law enforcement will speak to the driver and perform field sobriety tests or breathalyzer tests to determine whether a driver was intoxicated or not. If the breathalyzer test concludes that the driver is over the legal limit, police officers have probable cause and will arrest the driver for driving under the influence (DUI).
A driver who is convicted of DUI or DWI will face penalties depending on the results of their breathalyzer test. The drivers blood alcohol content or BAC will factor into the proceedings, as well any history of drunk driving will be taken into account. Consequences may include significant fines, license suspension, and or even jail time. Regardless of the results of a criminal case, compensation for a victim does not satisfy any damages the victim may experience due to the accident caused by the drunk driver.
In this case, typically you must seek compensation in civil court by filing a lawsuit against the drunk driver. You may be able to use the results from the criminal case to your advantage when proving liability against the drunk driver.
In a personal injury case, the victim of the accident must prove the driver’s negligence. If the driver who caused the accident was obviously drunk, and was found guilty in a criminal case, that drunk driver can be certainly considered negligent. If a drunk driver was never arrested, a victim, or the victims attorney would have to present witness statements, and video evidence to prove that the driver was indeed intoxicated and caused the accident. An experienced drunk driving accident attorney will know how to use any criminal convictions or evidence to help your civil case reach a fair settlement.