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An In-Depth Look at the Legal Procedure After a Drunk Driving Accident

More states have been cracking down on offenders who are found intoxicated while behind the wheel of a car. Unfortunately, because of this, more officers are making arrests that may be unfounded just out of an aggressive pursuit to get drunk drivers off the road. The punishments are becoming more severe, and many drivers are being blamed for accidents that they didn’t’ actually cause just due to bias. This article will discuss the legal procedure that often happens after someone is arrested for DUI at the scene of an accident: 

The Arrest
When an officer arrives at the scene of an accident, they are to ensure that anyone who was hurt gets medical care, then must write a report of the incident. The officer may observe both drivers for signs of intoxication. The officer has broad discretion to decide for themselves whether someone is under the influence or not. Because a car accident can lead to injuries, a driver may not be walking straight or speaking coherently. An officer may wrongly assume that the driver is drunk and have them perform a field sobriety test, which they may obviously fail because of physical injuries.

An officer can arrest an individual that they suspect is under the influence, then transfer them to either the local police station or a medical facility for additional testing. The driver may have to provide a urine or blood sample, which will be tested for alcohol in the system. A driver reserves the right to not participate in a field sobriety test or sample test. However, because of failing to perform the test, they may still endure several repercussions for not cooperating. 

Charge and Release
The driver accused of being drunk may have to spend time in a holding cell, which may otherwise be referred to as a “drunk tank.” Once the driver regains a sense of sobriety, they can be released. A trial date will be set in which the driver must attend, and then they may face any of the following repercussions: 

  • A suspension of their license for a period of time
  • Being required to complete a drug awareness class and attend rehabilitation
  • Installing a breathalyzer device into their vehicle so that they cannot start their car without passing the test first
  • Paying thousands of dollars in fines
  • Potentially facing civil charges where they have to pay compensation to the other driver in the accident for damages, injuries, and losses

Being Held Until Trial Date
If the drunk driver injured or killed the other driver, they may not be permitted to get bail. The accused may have to remain in the custody of police until the trial date and time. The driver may face charges related to some kind of criminal negligence or vehicular involuntary manslaughter, based on the degree of injury caused to the other driver. Being arrested for a DUI at the scene of a car accident can turn serious very quickly, so obtaining qualified representation from a DUI attorney, like a DUI attorney in MD, is strongly recommended. 

Thanks to The Lawfirm of Frederick J. Brynn, P.C. for their insight into what happens after someone is accused of driving while under the influence.