Legal Consequences for DUI Accidents | Jimeno & Gray, P.A.
They unfortunately happen all of the time and almost everywhere in America. They claim the lives of over ten thousand people a year in America, which is equivalent to around five times the amount of people who died in Hurricane Katrina, and over three times the amount of people who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. There have been ad campaigns, non-profit organizations, and movements against it. Yet these accidents will still happen because Americans almost everyday will make the decision get behind the wheel even though they know they had a little too much. We’re talking about DUI accidents, and what happens after a drunk driver causes an accident is something you don’t want to find out the hard way.
The Penalties Behind a DUI
In the state of Maryland if you get a DUI for the first time it’s called a first offense DUI/DWI. The consequences include; six months with no drivers license, possible incarceration up to two months (depending if minors are in the car), completion of an alcohol/substance abuse assessment and treatment program. Additional charges besides the ticket usually include court fees, a higher insurance rate, class fees, and license renewal fees. Don’t forget the cost of not showing up to work. Losing driving privileges, combined with the other costs will end up making life more difficult but it’s designed to teach you to not drink and drive ever again. Which can end up saving your life and the lives of others.
The total cost of an individuals first DUI can cost them personally anywhere from $5,000 to $12,000, with the majority of that money going to the insurance company.
When you get a second and third DUI the penalties become more intense and harsher. A required ignition interlock device will get placed on your car. Jail time will be the minimum an automatic 5 days but can be up to two years. The fine doubles to two thousand dollars for the second offense. You end up losing your driving privileges for the minimum of one year. It’s likely that your insurance company will cancel your policy or will charge you an outrageous rate. The penalties are harsher because the government wants you to learn a lesson and that’s to not ever drink and drive.
The Penalties Associated With a DUI Accident
DUI traffic tickets are pretty harsh but what can be worse is an accident caused by a person who was under-the-influence. The charges then can be criminal and can take many years financially. Here’s a breakdown of the possible penalties after a person causes an accident while under-the-influence:
- DUI Charge – There’s no escape from this penalty. Even if the accident wasn’t your fault – if you’re caught driving under-the-influence after an accident you will get this charge.
- Reckless Driving – Driving a vehicle and willfully not considering or caring for the safety of the people or even the property around you will result in the criminal charge of reckless driving. This means even if you don’t hurt another person, but hit someones mailbox while under-the-influence you’ll be given this charge. Penalties for this charge include an added fine plus the DUI fine. It will also raise your insurance premiums and can prevent an employer from hiring you.
- Driving to Endanger – Purposely trying to endanger ones life on the road is a serious crime and can result in the loss of a drivers license along with heavy fines. This criminal charge can be given to someone who caused an accident while under-the-influence because it may appear that they purposely tried to hit another car or thing. The jail time can be up to two years for this charge.
- Assault– Hitting someone whether if in your car, or with your fist can result with an assault charge. This can result in a misdemeanor, which will go on ones record. With drunk drivers if you hit another car or person and it appeared that you intentionally drove towards them you can get this charge added onto others.
- Negligent Homicide– If someone dies because you caused an accident while driving under-the-influence you can face negligent homicide charges. This will result in jail time anywhere from six months to ten years. This is by far the worst thing that a person can get charged with who decides to drink and drive.
- Civil Lawsuit– Civil lawsuits don’t go over well for drunk drivers, it’s one of the reasons why insurance companies charge heavy premiums to those with just one DUI. There are significant emotional and physical damages that come from car accidents and the victims expect someone to cover the bill. Always hire a DUI accident attorney if you’re a victim of an accident caused by a drunk driver because insurance companies will do their best to get away with paying less.
Drunk drivers who are at-fault for car accidents will often lose civil lawsuits. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hire a DUI accident attorney; Insurance companies hire the best legal teams to help save them the most amount of money in car accident cases. Always hire a good car accident attorney to handle your lawsuit and they can help you receive the highest amount of compensation that you deserve.
In Conclusion – Just Don’t Drink and Drive
Do whatever you can in your power to not ever drink and drive. Even if you believe that you’ll be okay the consequences are not worth the risk. Don’t let a twenty dollar twelve pack end up costing another persons life and possibly your own. Driving safely requires a good amount of focus and self control. Alcohol will make it difficult for your brain to process information and have the fullest amount of control behind the wheel. If you don’t ever drink and drive you’ll never have to worry about these consequences.
*If you’ve been hit by a drunk driver, we offer our drunk driver accident attorney services as well.
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Gregory P. Jimeno, Esquire
Frank C. Gray, Jr., Esquire.
Magaly Delisse Bittner, Esquire
Jessica McConnell, Esquire