Are you a driver who has been involved in an accident? Have you been slapped with a DUI charge and a possible civil charge for the injuries or death caused to other people? Well, this is a serious matter, especially if it involves death, but you do not have to worry a lot. The good news is that many drivers have been freed from similar charges and are back to their businesses. As a driver, you can face both criminal and civil charges if you cause a serious accident. When this happens, you are expected to defend yourself against two different lawsuits: Criminal lawsuit: the state may bring criminal charges of DUI and civil lawsuit where the victims may demand damages for the injuries sustained as a result of the accident. The main difference between these two areas of law is that criminal lawsuits are pressed by the state while civil lawsuits are brought by the victims of the accident.
The Burden of Proof in Criminal Civil DUI & Court Cases
In criminal cases, defendants may be charged, convicted and even sentenced to a jail term. In some other cases, the defendant may lose driving privileges, pay court ordered fines or serve on probation. On the other hand, a civil lawsuit is where a victim pursues the defendant to recover the damages for the hospital bills, lost incomes and damage to property. In criminal DUI case, the burden of proof lies on the prosecution to show that the defendant is guilty beyond reasonable doubt. There are higher standards of proof based on “reasonable doubt” compared on civil matters whose proof of evidence is on balance of probabilities. Based on the preponderance of the evidence, the plaintiff is expected to show that 50% of the claims are true. In a criminal trial, a defendant who is found guilty of the DUI charges or has the charges dismissed may still have to face a civil case. Where the accident was a fatal collision, the survivors may file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Consequences of a DUI Lawsuit in a Fatal Accident
If you are found guilty of a DUI after an accident that caused serious injuries or death, you may be faced with aggravated DUI. If it is proven beyond reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the offense, you may be faced with serious punishment, including $5,000 in fines and other court ordered penalties such as restitution. In addition, you may have to be faced with a felony or revocation of the license.
What Type of Attorney Do do You need?
If you are faced with a DUI with accident charges, you need to hire a criminal defense lawyer to help you figure out what to do to fight the case. The defense attorney has numerous options and tactics that can be applied to your specific case. A criminal lawyer is familiar with all the DUI laws in your state. DUI with accident charges is serious matters that have far-reaching implications on your office work, incomes and license. Therefore, you need to hire someone who has the experience and familiarity with all the court procedures, rules, and challenges.
If you have received a notice of a civil lawsuit after a DUI accident or similar crimes, you need to contact your insurance company first before you do something else. If you do not have coverage, you need to retain a personal injury attorney who is well experienced in civil law as well as criminal law.
The Lawyer Will Provide Counter Evidence
After being arrested for drunk driving, you expect to be arraigned in court to answer to charges. If the police have sufficient evidence that can sustain a trial, you will be taken to trial. Alternatively, your lawyer may organize for a plea bargain with the prosecution. Following these procedures, the sentencing phase will follow. In most cases, DUI charges are classified as a misdemeanor but this may be sufficient to land you behind the bars for a longer period. If you want to fight the charges, your defense lawyer may work to challenge the BAC testing and its validity through providing evidence from an expert witness statement.
Your lawyer will have to provide evidence to help prove that you were not under the influence at the time of arrest. You will be able to prove through documentary evidence that will prove that the blood testing kit was not accurately calibrated. At a reputable law firm, personal injury lawyers understand how to deal with both civil and criminal aspects of a DUI case and the quest for compensation of the victims of the accident. The lawyers will use relevant evidence to the best of your advantage. If you or a loved one has been given a notice, click here to contact a legal professional to defend you in your DUI charges.