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DUI Car Accidents

The use of drugs, alcohol and other substances that cause impairment increase the likelihood of a serious car accident.

Dealing with the loss of a loved one due to a car accident can be stressful and overwhelming. That is why working with a DUI accident lawyer can be of advantage to you during difficult times. DUI accidents are quite common in the US and the state of California. They are more likely to cause severe injuries or deaths than any other type of accident. If you or someone you know finds themselves in a DUI car accident, do not hesitate to reach out to a DUI accident attorney.

dui car accident with blurred vision

DUI Car Accident Injury Claims

In California, and in the rest of the United States, DUI or “driving under the influence” is one of the major causes of road accidents. In the unfortunate circumstance of you or someone you know becoming a victim of a DUI, you’ll need a reliable and experienced California DUI lawyer to ensure you get to assert your rights and are compensated.

People who insist on driving while inebriated, or who make light of how even a little alcohol can impair driving, are both thoughtless and irresponsible. They’re like a randomly placed land mine that can explode at any time, destroying property, maiming a person, or taking a life.

As DUI car accident lawyers in California, we’ve made it our mission to help all DUI victims who come to us for help. These car accidents do not only lead to personal injuries but can also result in financial difficulties and emotional suffering for victims and their families.

If a DUI accident occurs, and it injures or kills the victim, the family can claim compensation for lost wages and medical bills, as well as emotional and psychological pain and suffering. With the help of our California DUI lawyers, you gain legal representation fast and can quickly file your claim.

DUI penalties in California

The penalties for DUI in California depend on the number of times you have been convicted of an offense. If this is your first offense, you could spend up to six months in jail, incur between $390 – $1000 in fine or face a six months’ suspension of license. For your second offense, you could spend between 96 hours up to a year in jail, incur a similar fine as above, or face a two-year license suspension.

What Are The Effects Of Driving Under The Influence?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), three types of drugs are commonly used in drug-related DUI violations. These are:

  1. Over-the-counter drugs
  2. prescriptions
  3. Illegal substances

With how common it is to use over the counter medicine, some people are not aware that even they shouldn’t be driving.

Your symptoms are highly dependant on which drug you take. Some of them may leave you drowsy or sleepy. Distractions, both outside and inside the vehicle, may cause a collision while under the effects of a substance. The drug may cause lethargy and make the driver become unable to make sound decisions and may move unexpectedly. Body coordination may be affected, which can cause uncontrolled stopping, slowing, speeding, and running into objects. Consumption of drugs may also affect a driver’s mental alertness, disconnected feelings, euphoria, and worst-case scenarios, even seizures.

DUI Still No. 1 Road Accident Killer

In 2016 and 2017, drunk driving in the US killed nearly 11,000 people, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), showing how it remains the leading cause of death on the road. And although DUI-related deaths decreased by 1.1 percent in 2017 compared to 2016 overall, road accident numbers are still too high. The objective is to minimize or prevent tragic incidents similar to the cases mentioned below.

In March 2019, Alondra Selena Marquez, 22, crashed into a Lyft vehicle carrying two passengers. One of the passengers died while the other victim survived with a severe brain injury, and the Lyft driver suffered minor injuries. The intoxicated driver was driving at a speed of more than 100 mph when she crashed into the Lyft.

Earlier in October in Santa Rosa, a homeless woman and her dog sleeping in a parked Mazda SUV were killed by a speeding DUI driver. The driver, Angel Ivan Martinez, 21, was driving a black Dodge Challenger.

During the night of Halloween in 2019, 20-year-old Carlo Navarro, the DUI driver of an SUV, fatally crashed into a family walking on the sidewalk, ending the lives of a 3-year-old boy and his parents. This happened in the Long Beach community. And while the drivers in all of these DUI cases had been taken to court, the lives they destroyed can never be restored.

What Are The Different Substances That Lead To DUI?

Drugged driving can refer to the use of recreational drugs such as:

  • marijuana
  • cocaine
  • morphine
  • heroin
  • methamphetamine
  • amphetamine
  • ecstasy
  • PCP

Legally purchased prescription drugs and over-the-counter prescription drugs include:

  • anti-depressants
  • decongestants
  • valium
  • anti-anxiety medications
  • antihistamines
  • hydrocodone (Vicodin)
  • sleeping pills

Recreational drugs lead to impairment as they induce a state of drowsiness. Certain recreational drugs also cause hallucinations, an increase in aggressive and reckless behavior, and dizziness. Prescription drugs can cause a drugged driver to experience drowsiness, disconnection, and lapses in judgment, lethargy, loss of coordination and loss of mental alertness. Some medications can cause seizures. In addition, if recreational drugs and prescription drugs are consumed with alcohol, the results are far more dangerous.

DUI Car Accidents

Driving Under The Influence Of Drugs Or Alcohol Statistics In California

Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a vast problem today. Though California and the US have made some progress in curbing DUI related accidents, we still have a long way to go. 

According to data from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 10,000 Americans lose their lives in DUI crashes each year. California records over 1000 deaths due to DUI each year. California ranks 25th in the nation for alcohol-related accidental deaths wherein drunk driving constitutes 29% of the state’s total traffic accident related fatalities. 

This information provided by the Department of Motor Vehicles in Califonia in their 2017 annual report of the California DUI Management Information System. This is a system that the state has in place to help combat the DUI problem with the use of proper data and analysis.

  • About 1 in 3 traffic deaths in the United States involve a drunk driver
  • From 2003-2012 10,327 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver
  • In 2015 there were 116,190 driving under the influence convictions in California
  • 2,322 commercial drivers license actions taken in 2015 due to DUI
  • In 2015, 9.9% of total crash injuries were alcohol-involved; slightly lower than 10.4% reported for 2014.
  • Drug-involved crash fatalities decreased by 3.8% in 2015, after a decrease of 3.1% in 2014.

California DUI Statistics

According to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) “DUI SUMMARY STATISTICS: 2005- 2015” report, 546 licensed drivers for every 100,000 were arrested in the state of California for DUI charges in 2015. In the same year, there were 1,144 fatalities and 25,152 injuries that were drunk driving-related. For drug-involved cases, there were 831 fatalities and 3,031 injuries.

In a report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 1.8 percent of drivers in California admitted to driving while intoxicated. Although the figure appears to be small, with 26,199,436 licensed drivers in 2016, that “small” percentage is equivalent to 471,589 California drivers. It should also be assumed that not everyone is willing to report themselves as drinking and driving so these figures could be much higher. California DUI statistics also do not reflect the national trend. 

California’s blood alcohol level (BAC) requirements for driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) differ. The charge is based on the driver’s age and whether the vehicle being driven is private or commercial. In the state, you can be charged with DUI or DWI if you are:

  • Below 21 years of age, with a BAC of 0.01% or higher
  • Over 21 years of age, with a BAC of 0.08% or higher
  • Driving a commercial vehicle with a BAC of 0.04% or higher

California has a zero-tolerance blood alcohol policy for drivers below the age of 21. Drivers in this age bracket found to have alcohol of any amount in their system can be convicted of DUI.

Moreover, a DUI case not only includes driving while intoxicated but also driving after taking illegal drugs. People taking over-the-counter or prescription medicine known for side effects such as sleepiness, disorientation, general impairment, and similar conditions can also be arrested for DUI if they drive and are flagged or cause an accident.

Difference between civil and criminal proceedings

Every DUI offense has two types of cases attached to it. These cases are known as criminal DUI and civil DUI implied consent situations. While the two proceedings usually overlap each other, there are several differences between both of them.

The civil case starts when the offender has been arrested and taken to the police station. This is the implied consent proceeding which consists of measuring the driver’s blood alcohol consent (BAC) and preservation of rights during the DUI proceedings.

The criminal case begins when the driver is stopped and arrested and evidence has been gathered pertaining to violation of traffic safety rules while driving under influence. To stop and arrest the driver, the police officer must have reasonable suspicion of the driver being under influence and posing risk to themselves and others.

The officer must also gather information which proves beyond any reasonable doubt that the driver was under influence while behind the wheel. This is usually proved by measuring the driver’s BAC level. In California, you can be convicted of DUI if you are found to have a BAC level of 0.01% or more when you are under 21 years of age. If you are over 21, having a BAC level of 0.08% or more can lead you to a DUI conviction.

Who is at fault for DUI car accidents?

Various parties could be blamed for DUI related car accidents which include:

  • Drivers: Drivers who drink and drive are responsible for their own behavior. Their failure to be accountable to themselves and those on the road after consuming alcohol can make them liable for any accident related injuries.
  • Hosts: Those who host parties at which alcohol is served could also be responsible for a DUI car accident. In case a host serves alcohol to a party guest upon knowing that the latter was clearly inebriated, the host can be held at fault if the guest causes a drunk driving accident.

Owners and staff members of bars and restaurants: It is the duty of bar and restaurant staff members to stop serving alcohol to guests appearing intoxicated. If they fail to do so and a guest causes an accident, the bar owner can be held liable.

California DUI Accident Attorney

DUI victims and their families can pursue claims against drunk drivers in order to receive financial compensation for any injuries and other damages sustained in the accident. With the expert handling and assistance of our California DUI lawyers, you can be recompensed for your lost wages, injuries, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and property damage.

Furthermore, if the DUI driver is proven to be legally intoxicated, you have the option and legal right to pursue punitive damages. Punitive or exemplary damages filed against the DUI driver can not only significantly increase the compensation amount awarded to the victim, but they are also designed to punish the drunk driver financially. Moreover, these types of damages help to make a powerful statement by making an example of the driver who caused the accident.

Victim Compensation

If you or a loved one becomes the victim of a DUI-related incident, be sure to speak to no one other than our California DUI lawyers. If you are being coaxed or persuaded by an insurance adjuster to settle or strike a deal, please do not accept their offer.

If you have been a victim of a drugged driving accident in California, contact a DUI car accident attorney to learn about your legal rights. Call Krasney Law at (909) 380-7200 for a free consultation. Our experienced attorneys will help you through the tough time of legal action and with recovering adequate financial compensation for your injuries, property damage, and other losses. What you need to do is to contact us at Krasney Law. As soon as we receive your call, we’ll be there, and we promise to see you through.

Talk to an experienced DUI accident lawyer at Krasney Law today to know more about the specifics of your California DUI case.