When you are in an accident and are found to be driving under the influence of alcohol, you will be arrested for DUI even if the accident was not your fault. Blood alcohol content (BAC) percentage does not even necessarily have to show measurable alcohol in your blood, if you were under the legal drinking age of 21 and can be shown to have been drinking before the accident or admitted to having committed DUI. For drivers over the age of 21, a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher automatically results in a DUI charge. Commercial drivers involved in an accident will be charged with DUI if their BAC is 0.04 percent or higher. All of these rules fall under Arizona’s stance of “zero tolerance” in regard to drunk driving.
But just because a driver is charged with a DUI following their accident, it does not automatically mean that driver is at fault for the collision. As examples, if your car was rear-ended by someone else or hit while you were driving through an intersection at legal speed with a green traffic signal, your DUI does not pin the blame on you for the accident. That accident is the sober driver’s fault and they are responsible for damages.
Where many drunk drivers cause themselves greater legal harm is in fleeing the scene of an accident because they have been drinking. Fleeing the scene makes the situation far worse than staying and risking a DUI. If your vehicle is hit while you are driving under the influence, remain at the scene and call the experienced criminal lawyers of the DMCantor immediately. Even while you await arrival of police, calling your attorney should be a top priority.
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If you have been driving drunk, you will likely suffer through a DUI charge upon discovery at the accident. When injuries or fatalities result from the accident that is not your fault, things do become a bit more complicated if you were driving drunk. It becomes even more important that you do not incriminate yourself further, by saying anything that could be misconstrued as an admission of fault. There are cases where fault cannot be proven for accidents and drivers receiving a DUI at the scene of the accident are often blamed in these collisions.
If the accident is proven to be caused by the drunk driver, there may be felony charges and a lengthy prison sentence. Courts also often require restitution to be paid to victims by the party at fault. Because restitution and stiff sentences cannot be applied to DUI drivers not at fault in the accident, it becomes even more important that you have a good lawyer on your side to fight any charges, particularly false charges of blame for the accident’s occurrence. A good Phoenix DUI defense lawyer will use investigators and accident reconstruction experts, along with other evidence, to defend your case when police place assumption of guilt on you.
Even when the accident is your fault, a felony DUI charge can still be reduced to a misdemeanor if there were no injuries or fatalities.
Arizona has a reputation as having some of the strictest DUI laws in the country. This reputation is partially derived from harsh sentencing that is often provided in relation to driving history and the present charge’s blood alcohol content. When you are involved in an accident and are issued a DUI despite not being at fault for the accident, you will still be held accountable for your impaired driving under Arizona’s strict laws. You can expect stiff penalties affecting your freedom, driving privileges and finances.
Conviction of driving under the influence when a car accident occurs, without being to blame for that accident, may include the following penalties:
Accidents can happen anywhere and at any time. But when your accident occurs after you have been drinking, you will be particularly frightened by the potential ramifications of your bad decision to get behind the wheel. It is important that you resist the urge to flee the scene and remember to contact your attorney to help you from the very beginning of your DUI charge. Because of the accident, there is much more on the line than just driving privileges. You may find yourself subjected to blame you are not due, because of your DUI.
When you know a DUI charge is imminent at the scene of your accident, you need to call an experienced attorney to help defend you in your vulnerable position. It may be your first DUI offense, your second or even a third. But with a good criminal lawyer on your side, you can ensure a better outcome for your case. The DMCantor provides aggressive, experienced legal help for clients charged with DUI, whether or not an accident has occurred. Call David Michael Cantor immediately at 602.307.0808 for the legal defense and rights protection you need.
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