Getting arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) is the beginning of a very confusing trip through the justice system. Not only will you face criminal charges for breaking California's DUI law – which comes with fines and possibly even jail time – you will also face administrative sanctions that impact your right to drive.
However, if the DUI arrest came after a car accident, you could also face another trip to the courtroom if the other driver files a civil lawsuit against you for their personal injuries. This civil lawsuit is far more difficult to win if you were convicted on your DUI charge or if you pled guilty to it, making it even more crucial to have a skilled DUI-defense attorney at your side.
Personal Injury Lawsuits After a DUI-Related Car Accident
It is not an unusual situation: If you've been involved in a car accident and end up getting arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, anyone who was hurt in the other vehicle is far more likely to decide to file a personal injury lawsuit against you. After all, if they've been hurt and have had to pay medical bills to recover, the possibility that you were under the influence drastically improves their chances of winning, and they know it. They might even think that they can get punitive damages, which go beyond just compensating them for their losses, and are meant to punish you for driving drunk.
Outcome of a Criminal Case Impacts a Civil One
However, even if you were under the influence at the time of the crash, it does not automatically mean that you were the one who caused the accident. Inebriation is only one of the countless factors that are used to determine who created the crash and who should, therefore, pay for it.
With that said, though, many people who sit on a jury in a civil case will frown on someone who was proven to have been driving while intoxicated. This makes it far more difficult to successfully defend against a civil lawsuit after a DUI conviction.
Importance of a Successful Criminal Defense
This makes it even more important to vigorously defend against a criminal charge for DUI in California. If you plead guilty to DUI or are convicted for DUI by a jury in a criminal case that involved a car crash, it makes it far more difficult to defend against a subsequent civil lawsuit filed by anyone who was hurt in the accident.
A Sacramento DUI-Defense Attorney Can Help
If you've been arrested and charged for DUI after a car accident, you need legal representation to avoid a criminal conviction. Not only does this mean no fines or jail time, and no license suspension, it also drastically improves your ability to prove that the crash was not your fault in a subsequent civil lawsuit.