Scranton Drunk Driving Accidents
On their own, driving under the influence (DUI) charges are taken very seriously in Scranton. However, when a driver is under the influence and an accident occurs that results in bodily injury or death, the charges become much more serious. In an effort to get drunk drivers off the roads and reduce the amount of injuries and fatalities that occur in Pennsylvania from drunk driving, enhanced penalties will be applied in the case of a DUI accident. In addition, individuals charged with a DUI that resulted in an accident may face civil liability in addition to criminal penalties.
Being charged with a DUI that resulted in an accident can have very harsh penalties. It is for this reason that anyone charged with a DUI, particularly one that involved an accident, should speak to a Scranton DUI attorney as soon as possible.
DUI Accident Without Injury
Accidents involving a drunk driver are considered to be very serious in Pennsylvania. Even when the accident did not result in any injuries, a person charged with DUI resulting in an accident will face increased penalties.
Automatically a person charged with a DUI in the case of an accident will be placed into the Second Tier Impairment Level. This level has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) threshold of 0.10 percent. The penalties in this tier are harsher than those in the first tier, in which the threshold is only 0.08 percent.
When a DUI accident has occurred but not resulted in injury, the second tier penalties include longer license suspensions, higher fines, increased jail time, and the possible requirement of an ignition interlock device.
DUI Accident Resulting in Bodily Injury or Death
When a DUI accident occurs and it results in bodily injury or death, the penalties become much harsher. In the case that someone else was injured, the prosecution will likely charge the drunk driver with aggravated assault while under the influence. This is a very serious charge in Pennsylvania. It is considered a second-degree felony and carries penalties of up to ten years in jail and a fine of $25,000.
When a DUI accident results in someone’s death, the penalties become even more severe. The prosecution may decide to charge the drunk driver with manslaughter, reckless endangerment, or vehicular homicide. All of these are considered felonies in Pennsylvania and carry penalties of very high fines and many years in prison.
It is important to understand that these charges and penalties may be laid if anyone was injured or killed as a result of a DUI accident. That can include another driver, other passengers, or even passengers in the same vehicle as the drunk driver.
Civil Penalties in DUI Accident Cases
In addition to the criminal penalties one may face after being charged with a DUI after an accident, individuals may also face civil penalties. These cases will be tried in civil court, not criminal. Due to the fact that drunk drivers will also be tried in criminal court, they can essentially be tried twice for the same crime.
In civil court, individuals charged with drunk driving will be required to pay restitution to the injured victims of the accident. This can include compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, and more. This can equal thousands of dollars and can financially cripple a person charged with drunk driving in the case of an accident.
In order for an individual to be held civilly liable, the other party must have sustained serious injury or death as a result of the DUI accident.
Contact a Scranton DUI Accident Attorney that can Help
One of the biggest problems with DUI accident cases is that if a driver is determined to have been drunk at the time of the accident, the courts often automatically assign them full blame for the accident. It does not always matter how other drivers were behaving, or if they contributed in any way to the accident.
Proving that another driver was at least partly at fault for a DUI accident can greatly reduce the amount of civil liability on the part of the drunk driver. In addition, field sobriety tests and even blood and breath tests are not always accurate. When this is the case, a person may be charged with a DUI accident when they were not intoxicated.
These are just some of the issues that can present themselves in a DUI accident case. These problems can be difficult for someone to fight on their own, but there is a DUI accident attorney in Scranton that can help.
If you have been charged with a DUI accident, you need to call Ernest D. Preate, Jr., Esquire at 570-558-5970 as soon as possible. You are likely facing harsh penalties, both civil and criminal, and Attorney Preate can help. He will investigate the case, determine if anyone else was at fault for the accident, and review test results to determine their accuracy.
If you’re facing DUI charges that resulted in an accident, do not wait another minute. There is help available, and Attorney Preate will review your case and give you the best possible chance of a successful outcome in court. Make the call to get the help you need today.