Have You Been In A Car Accident in Georgia?
Was Your Car Accident Associated With A DUI Arrest in Georgia?
If you were involved in a car accident, the accident itself can be used to support a DUI charge by showing you were less safe to drive depending on the circumstances of the accident. A car accident may also frustrate a favorable negotiation with the prosecution. The penalties in a DUI case are likely to be more severe when a car accident is involved even when no person or property was injured or damaged. Also the accident itself can be used as an indication of less safe driving, which is an element of the DUI offense itself.
Our Experience Dealing with DUI Car Accidents is the Difference:
Georgia DUI Attorney Richard Lawson has been handling DUI cases that involved accidents for almost 20 years. He is a Former Georgia DUI Prosecutor who knows both sides of your case and puts that experience to work for you. When you are facing a DUI with an accident, the stakes are high. You need the best possible legal defense on your side.
What is the Arresting Police Officer's Role in a DUI Accident Case?
If an officer sees a driver in distress, the officer has legal cause to approach the vehicle and investigate and offer assistance. The officer's primary duty is to aid all distressed drivers. However while aiding those drivers, the officer can also investigate the cause of the accident and a possible DUI offense. Also, the officer can charge the driver with anything he sees in plain view, such as drugs and marijuana found in the car.
Your behavior after a car accident can be mistaken for clues of alcohol impairment and can also affect your ability to perform field sobriety tests. This may be a strong argument at a motion hearing to show that these observations stemmed from impact during the accident and were not reliable clues to support an arrest decision. But there is also a risk that the severity of the accident itself might have more of an impact on the judge or jury's decision. Yet, your behavior can also be explained due to the accident itself. It is very common that a person can appear disoriented after a collision with their vehicle.
In addition, car accidents can lead to additional charges being filed against you. Following too closely is a common charge if you rear-ended another vehicle. You may charged with Improper Lane Change or Failure to Maintain Lane if you weave out of your lane into another vehicle or change lanes without yielding. If you hit or damaged a road sign or guard rail or other property, you may be charged with Striking a Fixed Object which could lead to the requirement to pay restitution for the cost of the repairing the damage.
How will the accident be used against you at court?
Any traffic violation is additional support for the prosecution's claim that you were less safe to drive. A Hit and Run or Leaving the Scene of an Accident charge may even make you appear more culpable in that you failed to take responsibility for your involvement and you injured another's person or property. Rear-ending a person can cause a charge of following too closely.
Under Georgia DUI law, you can be charged with the offense of Serious Injury by Vehicle if you cause another person bodily harm while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. DUI Serious Injury By Vehicle is a felony offense in Georgia and punishable by imprisonment for not less that one year nor more than 15 years. The minimum license suspension period is 3 years with no limited use permit or early reinstatement.
Vehicular Homicide is a very serious charge in Georgia and carries severe penalties. These offenses need extremely careful attention. Vehicular Homicide is a felony offense if the death is caused by a serious traffic violation such as DUI or reckless driving and is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Vehicular Homicide may be charged as a misdemeanor if the death was a result of the violation of a basic traffic law like speeding, failure to yield, failure to maintain lane, following to closely, or any other ordinary traffic violation in Title 40 of the Georgia Criminal Code. The maximum punishment for misdemeanor vehicular homicide is up to one year in jail.
Further, if your involvement in a car accident leads to a DUI charge, the license suspension period may be increased due to additional charges. If you are convicted of three mandatory suspendable offenses within a five-year period you will be declared a habitual violator. Some of the predicate offenses are DUI, Serious Injury by Vehicle, and Hit and Run. Any person declared a habitual violator will have his or her driver's license revoked for five years. After two years, you may apply for a probationary driver's license for up to three years if you meet certain conditions.
There is Help For Your Georgia Traffic Accident and Georgia DUI
As you can see, “minor” traffic offenses can actually cause Georgia Drivers major problems. We can help. Our office has been handing traffic tickets and traffic violations for almost 20 years. If you traffic ticket involves a DUI offense as well, you can be helped. All cases have potential defenses. No case is hopeless, and being involved in a traffic accident does not mean you are automatically guilty of DUI. Contact our office today for immediate legal help. We are hear 24/7 to help you with your DUI case in Georgia and the related traffic tickets.