Procedures after a Drunk Driving Accident

In 2006, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that almost 18,000 people in the United States were killed in an alcohol-related collision. For this reason, many states have been cracking down on the laws regarding Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charges. Punishments are becoming more severe and police can pull drivers over for suspicion of drunk driving.

The following are common indicators that tip police officers off to drunk drivers:

  • The driver is turning with a wide radius
  • He or she is straddling the center or lane marker
  • The driver almost hits another vehicle or an object
  • The driver’s car is weaving
  • He or she is swerving, drifting or breaking erratically
  • The suspect is driving slowly, or stopping without cause

The aforementioned actions can warn police and other drivers about the presence of a drunk driver, so that they can be on their guard. However, accidents do continue to occur and thousands of people are injured. After an accident, the suspected drunk driver is put under investigation by police, either on the scene or in custody. If his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) is higher than the state’s legal limit, then he or she can be incarcerated and punished for his or her actions. Again, these punishments vary from state to state and often depend on whether or not any other people were injured or killed in the accident. If no one is injured, he or she may be charged and released to await a trial. If the drunk driver kills or injures another person, he or she will be held until the trial.

If you may have been convicted with a DUI charge, consult with a DUI Attorney in your area to receive a free case review.

Charge and Release

If no other person was injured in the drunk driving accident, then the suspect will spend some time in a holding cell, also known as the “drunk tank” until he or she regains sobriety. Then, he or she may be released on bail or on his or her own recognizance, or agreement to return.

A trial date is set, and the drunk driver is given one of the following punishments:

  • The DUI license of the guilty driver is suspended for a period of time.
  • He or she must take rehabilitation or drug awareness classes.
  • A breathalyzer device is installed in cars, to ensure that they do not start without testing the driver’s sobriety first.

These punishments vary from state to state, but most are not incredibly severe for first-time offenders. However, if the drunk driver does injure or kill another person, then the punishment may be a great deal of jail time.

Held Until Trial

If a driver does injure or kill another person, oftentimes, he or she will not be eligible for bail. The suspect must remain in police custody, to await his or her trail date. During the trail, the suspect will be charged with some form of criminal negligence or involuntary vehicular manslaughter, depending upon the severity of the injuries caused to the other people. He or she may also be sued by the injured people or their families for medical bills and emotional damages.

The recommended jail time for each case is determined by a jury of the driver’s peers, and also may vary from state to state.

If you may have been convicted with a DUI charge, consult with a DUI Attorney in your area to receive a free case review.
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