Driving under the influence puts you in danger and you also risk hurting someone due to your impairment.
In the best-case scenario, you will get out of the situation unharmed. Consuming alcohol or taking drugs before getting in the car, however, will increase the risk of an accident. According to the CDC, 29 people lose their lives in the US every day due to crashes involving drivers under the influence.
In one year alone, 10,497 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes. The number represents 28 percent of all traffic-related fatalities.
If you drive after alcohol or drug consumption, you increase the risk of hurting someone. What will happen if you end up in a crash that injures another person?
DUI with Injury in Arizona
Any DUI case that causes harm or death is considered a felony in Arizona. Hence, the penalties you could end up facing will be much more serious than in the case of getting pulled over by police officers.
People who crash into another car or injure others while intoxicated will be committing an aggravated DUI. This is the most severe DUI offense in Arizona and the penalties are chosen to match the seriousness of the situation.
Accidents involving injuries will typically carry a penalty of anywhere between five and 18 years in prison, a fine exceeding 5,500 dollars, license revocation for at least three years, five-year probation, mandatory drug and/or alcohol screening, community service, and the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) in your car.
In case the accident causes the death of another person, you face an array of additional charges. Some of these could include negligent homicide, second-degree murder, or manslaughter. All of these are felonies with second-degree murder being a Class 1 felony. If you’re convicted, you’ll face prison time in the range of 10 to 22 years.
Apart from facing the criminal procedure in Arizona, you may also have to deal with a personal injury lawsuit initiated by the person you injured while driving under the influence.
In this case, the other party will seek financial compensation for the fact that your irresponsible or reckless behavior caused them harm. Depending on the scope of injuries and your involvement in the accident, the penalties could be quite extensive.
Keep in mind that insurance companies don’t typically cover DUI accidents. You are liable and you may have to go through a lengthy legal battle that will end with collection efforts on behalf of the person you injured or their family.
Even if you don’t have the financial resources to compensate the person you injured, your lawyer could seek alternative collection options. They may go after your family or they could turn to your employer in an attempt to collect a portion of your wage. Such legal battles can get vicious, which is why you need to find a very experienced attorney to represent you.
Seek Legal Assistance
You can’t undermine the gravity of the situation – your life will turn upside down in the case of a DUI that injured someone.
The first thing to do is to hire an experienced Arizona DUI attorney. The lawyer will examine the evidence against you and the procedures that law enforcement professionals followed. Based on these facts, your lawyer can craft a valid and convincing defense strategy.
One thing a lawyer can do is prove that intoxication did not cause the accident. Even if you get a positive BAC test, the prosecutor will still have to prove that the consumption of alcohol or the use of drugs caused the accident and the injuries.
Procedural errors and violations can also be challenged, making the prosecution drop some of its evidence. Even if the charges aren’t dismissed altogether, an experienced Arizona DUI attorney can minimize the scope of penalties.
Click here to find out if you are required to take a breathalyzer test in Arizona.