DUI charges are always serious, but when the arrest occurred after an accident, the penalties will be even more severe. Depending on the specifics of the situation, you could even be charged with a felony DUI.
One of the worst things you can do if you have been involved in an accident while inebriated is to flee the scene. Leaving the scene of an accident is a separate crime and can result in additional fines and penalties, along with up to three years of probation and two points being added to your DMV record. Even if the accident was not your fault, you can still be charged with this crime. If the accident resulted in an injury, you could even be charged with felony hit and run, which could leave you in prison and will result in your license being suspended.
If the accident resulted in only property damage, you may be subject to increased penalties like community service work and restitution to the person whose car you hit. Even if you were not at fault in the accident, the fact that you were intoxicated will still result in your being arrested and charged for driving under the influence.
If you were drinking and then became involved in an accident that resulted injury or death, your DUI charge may become a felony as decided by the prosecutor. In order for the crime to be a felony though, the prosecution must be able to show that aside from being intoxicated, you also drove recklessly or broke a traffic law and that action resulted in someone else being injured or killed. If the accident was caused by the other party, the charge will most likely not be increased to a felony.
Remember, it is critical you not leave the scene of the accident in these situations. While you cannot be charged with a felony DUI for an accident that is not your fault, you can still be charged with a felony hit and run if you flee the scene.
Whether you have been charged with a felony or misdemeanor drunk driving charge, it is critical that you contact a skilled Vista DUI lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case. Do not discuss the accident with the police until you have contacted an experienced drunk driving representative like Peter M. Liss.
A legal representative may be able uncover evidence from the accident that will prove that your intoxication did not affect the outcome of the accident, showing you should not be subjected to additional penalties for something that was not your fault. Additionally, he may be able to help you enroll in a substance treatment program to show that you are proactively taking steps to ensure this situation never happens again.
If you were involved in an accident while driving drunk, please call our offices at (760) 643-4050 to schedule your free initial consultation with a top Vista DUI attorney.
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