After a car accident, one of the first things people argue over is who is at-fault. If one of the drivers was arrested for having a BAC over .08 at the scene, they are often automatically blamed for the incident. However, just because a person had alcohol in their system doesn’t mean they caused the accident. Anyone who finds themselves to blame in such a scenario must get help from an attorney for protection. There are various charges and penalties that may be imposed after the car accident, and you will need experienced legal representation to assist you.
DUI Can Include Other Substances
When we think of a DUI arrest, most of us assume that means the driver had alcohol in his or her system. However, DUI arrests can also include other substances, or a combination of alcohol and drugs. Whether the driver had ingested an illegal drug or prescribed medication, the focus is on whether they were impaired enough to be deemed unsafe to operate a vehicle.
Per Se Intoxication
Every state has a “per se” DUI law, which makes it illegal to drive with equal to or more than .08% BAC. The number of drinks that it takes for a person to hit or exceed the legal limit varies by the individual, as every person handles and processes alcohol differently. There are also “per se” laws that may apply to drug-related DUIs. This means that a driver can be charged with a DUI if they have a certain degree of drugs in their system, particularly those of an illegal nature.
It is still possible to get a DUI drug charge if you were impaired because of prescription medication from your doctor, though. As you can see, the laws can get complicated, which is why anyone arrested for a DUI whether it has to do with alcohol or drugs should get help from an attorney.
Penalties for DUI Charges
Based on the circumstances of the arrest and laws for that state, a person can face a DUI charge that is either a misdemeanor or felony. Someone who was in a car accident while under the influence may be sued by the other driver for their injuries and damages. So not only may the accused be dealing with a criminal conviction, but he or she may also have to argue their innocence in civil court to avoid paying thousands of dollars in medical bills and other losses experienced by the other driver. This can be too much for one person to handle alone, so obtaining legal help is strongly advised.
Despite the variances in law that can occur between states, in general, a DUI conviction may result in one or more of these consequences:
- Prison or jail time
- Paying expensive fines
- Tarnished reputation in the community
- Difficulty obtaining employment
- Being put on probate by the court
- Suspended license
- Paying compensation to the other driver in an accident
If you or someone you know has been accused of driving while under the influence, contact a DUI lawyer to help begin building your case.