June 21, 2021 | DUI
Being arrested for DUI can be devastating. If you caused an accident while driving under the influence, you could face additional criminal charges and civil penalties. The police officers might not arrest you at the accident scene if they may need more time to complete their investigation.
Also, the accident victims may state that they are not injured, but that could change in the days following the accident. If a person sustained life-threatening car accident injuries, they could die in the days following the crash.
Therefore, you could face a DUI arrest the day of the drunk driving accident or in the days following the car crash. Criminal statutes of limitations place a deadline on how long the state has to file charges for an accident caused by DUI.
To be sure, the state has plenty of time to file criminal charges. Generally, the state has up to six years to file felony charges and up to two years to file misdemeanor charges. In either case, the state has considerable time to complete its investigation into the DUI accident and charge you with one or more crimes.
Criminal Charges for a DUI Accident
If you killed someone while you were driving under the influence, you might be charged with:
- Vehicular Manslaughter — Here, you are charged with killing someone while operating a motor vehicle as the result of a misdemeanor traffic violation. In this case, the traffic violation would be a first, second, or third DUI charge.
- Vehicular Homicide — Vehicular homicide means that you caused another person’s death while operating a motor vehicle negligently or by speeding in a construction zone. For a DUI accident, the charge will probably be negligently operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.
- Aggravated Vehicular Homicide — Here, you are being charged with causing another person’s death by: 1) operating a motor vehicle recklessly; 2) driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs; or 3) by committing a reckless operation in a construction zone.
If you injured someone while driving under the influence, you could face one or more criminal charges, such as vehicular assault or aggravated vehicular assault.
What Are The Criminal Penalties for a DUI Accident?
If you are accused of killing another person while driving under the influence, the prosecutor may seek the most severe DUI criminal penalties for your crime. You may have additional time added to your prison sentence, and the judge may order a much higher fine. In some cases, the judge could suspend your driver’s license for a longer period.
Accidents that result in injuries are charged as different crimes. However, you can still face severe penalties for causing physical injuries while driving under the influence of alcohol, including one to five years in prison.
However, you could face two to eight years in prison for a conviction if:
- an aggravating circumstance is involved,
- you have had three or more DUI convictions in the last ten years,
- or two or more felony DUIs on your record.
The punishment may be more severe, depending on the criminal records and the facts of the accident.
Civil Penalties for DUI Accidents
The victims of the DUI accident might sue you in civil court. Even if you are acquitted of the criminal charges, the accident victims could obtain a substantial award for damages in a civil trial.
If your insurance coverage does not pay the award, you will have a personal judgment against you for the victims’ damages. Therefore, you could beat the DUI charges and still have to deal with collection efforts by the victims for a personal judgment.
DUIs Involving Accidents Are Extremely Complicated Criminal Cases
A DUI charge can be a challenging criminal defense case. An attorney may need to work with experts to show the machines used to test BAC malfunctioned or there were other problems with the tests. However, when the DUI charges involve an accident, the case becomes exceptionally complicated.
Now you could be facing homicide charges. You might even face enhanced penalties for aggravating circumstances, depending on the facts of your case. It is crucial that you have an experienced DUI defense lawyer working on your case from the beginning.
As soon as you are arrested for DUI involving injury or death to another person, contact a DUI defense lawyer. The sooner you have an attorney working on your case, the better. You are innocent until the state proves its case.
An attorney will force the prosecution to prove every element of the case. Your lawyer also presents evidence to argue that you were not responsible for the crash.
Contact the Cincinnati DUI Lawyers at Suhre & Associates, LLC For Help Today
Suhre & Associates, LLC – Cincinnati
600 Vine Street, Suite 1004
Cincinnati, OH 45202