DUI and Getting Involved in an Accident

Learn What the Ramifications are for Being DUI and Getting Involved in an Accident in Los Angeles

It’s one thing to have a blood alcohol level of over .08 or have some sort of drugs or alcohol in your system and driving on the roads in Los Angeles and get pulled over for some sort of a traffic violation and being issued a citation to appear in court for a DUI – it’s yet another thing to be involved in some sort of an accident related to a DUI in LA.  The prosecutors and judges in LA County are very tough when it comes to accidents and DUI’s.  They figure it’s their job to protect people on the roads and the more dangerously that a defendant is indicated to have been driving, the more harsh the punishment will be by the prosecutors and judge, and the more restrictions they will put on that person.

Having done DUI cases in LA, and specifically accident-related offense DUI’s in Los Angeles over the course of the past twenty-five years, I’ve handled many of these cases and seen where these cases turn as far as the person getting jail or prison time, and where, even though you got in an accident can still be treated as a misdemeanor and you can keep yourself out of jail.  Those crucial gray areas are what separates the good attorneys from the bad attorneys.  Great DUI attorneys know how to angle cases, so their clients avoid jail time and avoid some of the harshest penalties related to DUI accident-related matters.  One big thing obviously that the prosecutors are going to be looking at in an accident-related DUI is how bad the other parties that were involved in the accident were hurt.  If it’s just soft tissue injuries, that’s one thing.  If on the other hand, the other person has what can be characterized as a serious injury – in other words, an injury where they have a broken bone, some sort of dislocation, some sort of a scar – some bad injury related to the accident, those are the cases the prosecutors are looking to target and make an example of the offenders on.  If on the other hand, you get in an accident and no one is hurt, a lot of times we can convince the prosecutors and the judge to not throw the book at you, not put you in jail for a long period of time, and just treat the case as a regular run-of-the-mill DUI matter.

Other factors that go into whether or not someone is going to be facing jail or prison related to an accident DUI has to do with the person’s criminal record, how dangerous they were driving, why the accident occurred.  In other words, if the accident wasn’t your fault, then that’s certainly a good argument that you didn’t cause the injuries related to the other person.  Of course, we have to get around the presumption in the law that says, if you’re driving under the influence of alcohol and you get involved in an accident – it’s presumed that it’s your fault.  In order to get around that presumption and avoid being held responsible for any injuries related to a DUI in LA, we’re going to have to show that you didn’t cause the accident and the other party caused their own injury, and therefore, you should not be held responsible for that.

Legal Defenses for Felony DUI’s in Accident Cases

Absolutely.  I do a lot of felony DUI’s involving accidents and one of the biggest defenses that we utilize in these cases is to be able to argue that the prosecutor, the judge and even a jury – that whatever injury was caused in this accident was not caused by the fault of the defendant.  In other words, if you get involved in an accident and neither the person that’s hurt or some third party or third event causes the accident and causes the injury, then that’s not going to be a scenario where the prosecutors are going to be able to get you for a felony DUI, because they’ve got to show that you caused whatever injury it is that resulted from the accident and that that injury is a serious injury in order to get you for a felony DUI.  So obviously, one of the biggest defenses is causation and showing that you’re not responsible for the DUI.

A lot of times there’s other factors that cause accidents.  Either the person that’s driving their own vehicle could rear-end somebody or another party could be driving recklessly on the road.  A hit-and-run driver can cause an accident, so it’s very important that you have an attorney that’s been down this road before, has had success, knows how to fight these felony DUI accident-related offenses, and can get you the bet result based on the circumstances that you’re faced with.

Another issue that has to be evaluated when it comes to accidents related to DUI’s and even felonies being charged against a person is this issue of causation.  In other words, some cases it can be argued at there are multiple causes of somebody’s injury, and how that is dealt with by the courts and a good attorney who has done these DUI-related accidents, is they’re going to evaluate was a potential cause of an accident a substantial factor in that accident.  Anything that is a substantial factor in the accident is going to be held responsible for the accident.  So, if the victim of a case who gets hurt, and the defendant were both responsible for it, and the defendant can be determined to be a substantial factor in the accident, then they’re going to be considered the cause even though the victim played a part in their own injuries.  As you can see, this type of stuff can become complicated and it’s crucial that you get an attorney that’s been down this road before and knows how to deal with these accident-related DUI offenses.