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Drunk Driving Accidents--What You Must Know

01st December 2009
By rex in Criminal Law
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Drunk driving accidents are completely preventable. They are also taken very seriously and drunk drivers face extreme punishment under the law. Most states have strengthened their drunk driving laws to include severe punishments for even first time offenders. If you are involved in a drunk driving accident then you need to be aware of what may happen if you were behind the wheel.

Understanding Drunk Driving

Many people are guilty of drunk driving. For a lot of those people, they were unaware that they were drunk enough to be considered over the legal limit. The legal limit for the amount of alcohol a person can have in their system while driving varies from state to state. Most states, though, have very strict limits.

In some states, a person is considered drunk if they have consumed a 12 ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine or a 1.5 ounce shot of whiskey. Many people think that having one drink is fine and that they are legal to drive, but as you see, that is often not the case. Even if you are in a minor accident, being found to be under the influence of alcohol means you will be charged with drunk driving. You will face harsh penalties.

Defenses of Drunk Driving

If you are involved in an accident and have been charged with drunk driving you will need to seek legal assistance right away. There are some defenses that can be used to fight drunk driving charges. Such defenses can help keep you from losing your license or from going to jail. Only an experienced lawyer, though, can help you to win your case in court.

While you may not be able to completely get off from the drunk driving charges, you can still fight lawsuits from the other parties involved in the accident. One such defense that you can use to keep another party from recovering damages is contributory negligence. Contributory negligence is when the other person's actions somehow contributed to their injuries.

Comparative negligence is another form of defense to prevent a party from claiming damages. It reduces the amount of judgment based upon the fault of the plaintiff. For example, if the defendant is found guilty for 60% of the accident then the plaintiff can only claim damages of 40%.

If you are being sued by a passenger that was in your car then, depending on the law in your state, you may be able to use the defense of contributory negligence or comparative negligence or assumption of the risk. This basically means that your passenger knew when getting into the vehicle that you were under the influence and therefore is somewhat responsible for their own injury.

When you have been involved in a drunk driving accident as a result of your own actions, you must step up and take responsibility. You should get help for your drinking problem. If it was a simple oversight and you were not intoxicated, but merely above the legal limit then you should take care in the future to avoid getting yourself in such a situation. Drinking and driving is very serious as every year there are countless people who lose their lives as a result of drunk driving.

Dramshop Claims

If you serve alcohol at a party and one of your guests causes an accident after the party, you could be sued. This is sometimes covered under state Dramshop laws.

Don't let your guests leave after drinking until you are completely satisfied that they are sober. Have someone at the party keep the keys. That person will remain sober and verify that people who leave are ready to drive. Some wise hosts have their guests spend the night to make sure they don't leave while intoxicated.

Rex Bush handles personal injury cases in Utah. For info on injury issues visit his website: Personal Injury Utah. Should you hire an injury lawyer? Visit this page: Utah Injury Lawyer.
This article is free for republishing
About the Author
Occupation: lawyer
Mr. Bush has handled thousands of injury cases during his 25 years as an injury attorney.
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