Any DUI arrest and subsequent criminal charges will have serious consequences for the accused. Penalties and charges will increase for repeat offenders.
A DUI driver will also undoubtedly face additional charges and penalties when the DUI resulted in an accident, causing property damage or injury to another person. The most serious DUI cases involving the death of another can net the offender years behind bars.
Every state has its own laws involving drinking and driving and associated charges for cases involving accident or injury. Our Birmingham DUI lawyers have experience in handling even the most complex DUI cases. In any DUI case, the circumstances vary and should be reviewed by an attorney who has handled similar cases in the past. The exact details of your arrest, the evidence upon which it was based and any procedural details could give you leverage in your defense. When your case involves injury or a car accident, it is extremely important to have a clear understanding of your rights and the potential consequences that you may face.
Legal penalties will almost certainly go up if your case involves “serious bodily injury to another person.” In some jurisdictions, a bodily injury could result in the defendant facing felony charges. Any felony charge will lead to harsh sentencing guidelines and a potentially extended jail sentence. Most drivers convicted of DUI or felony DUI will also lose their driving privileges for an extended period of time.
Serious bodily injury can include any loss of consciousness, broken bones, physical pain, disfigurement, loss of mental faculties, traumatic brain injury, and any other injury that poses a risk of death, including bleeding.
Any DUI case involving death will likely result in manslaughter or other homicide charges.
If you were arrested at the scene of an accident, it is likely that you provided a breathalyzer test or blood test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). This evidence, if properly obtained, can be used against you in court. One of the complicated issues in drinking and driving accident cases is when the accident wasn’t the fault of the impaired driver. In these cases, you can still be charged with a DUI, but you may be able to evade the more serious manslaughter or DUI homicide charges. It is extremely important to challenge the underlying DUI when possible.
The defense in a DUI accident case is critical not only to reducing penalties, but in making sure that a defendant is not over-charged for a crime. Some defense strategies result in a defendant avoiding charges all together, while other strategies will focus on mitigation of charges and penalties.
In a DUI accident case, a defendant may be able to argue that a breathalyzer or blood test was improperly administered. Usually, a defendant in these cases cannot challenge probable cause or other issues involving an illegal stop. However, we may be able to explore the possibility that the accident was not your fault or that the results of the breathalyzer test were somehow inaccurate. Avoiding submission to roadside sobriety tests in these cases can usually help to bolster your defense. Also, never admit to drinking and driving or being under the influence of drugs behind the wheel. This too can and probably will be used against you in the event the prosecution proceeds.