Driving under the influence (DUI) is a crime whether it results in an accident or not. However, a DUI that results in an accident is treated differently from a non-accident DUI. Here are some of the changes the issue of an accident introduces to your DUI case.
It Raises the Issue of Restitution
DUI restitution is the act of reimbursing the victims of your DUI accident for the losses your actions have caused them. Restitution is almost always guaranteed if the DUI accident has caused direct monetary losses to other people. For example, if you crashed into a commercial building and damaged some wares, you may be ordered to compensate the merchant for the value of the damaged merchandise. Restitution is strictly the economic losses the victims have suffered, and it includes things like medical bills, lost wages, and car rental costs, among others.
It May Lead To Aggravated Charges
A first time DUI is usually treated as a misdemeanor absent aggravating factors. An accident that caused damage to other people's property or injuries to other people is one of these aggravating factors. That means if your DUI caused such an accident, you are likely to be charged with an aggravated DUI. An aggravated DUI is a more serious form of DUI charge that carries harsher sentences, such as longer incarceration time or higher monetary fines.
It May Trigger Mandatory Testing
There are also cases where you have to undergo mandatory DUI testing after an accident. This is particularly true if the police at the scene have a reasonable suspicion that intoxication triggered the accident. State laws also determine whether mandatory testing is legal or not; it may be legal in your state after an accident.
It May Attract Minimum Sentencing
A DUI conviction attracts different forms of punishments that range from monetary fines to serious prison times. The circumstances of your DUI such as your blood alcohol content, the seriousness of your DUI accident, and the number of prior DUIs all determine the seriousness of your accident.
In fact, there are specific issues that automatically trigger minimum DUI sentencing, and in some cases, a DUI accident is one of these issues. Getting charged with a crime that involves minimum sentencing upon conviction is bad because it even eliminates the possibility of plea bargaining.
If you have been arrested for DUI, it's important to get a criminal defense lawyer to handle your defense. This is even more important if your DUI caused an accident because the stakes are high.