Driving under the influence, or DUI, is a serious threat in California and across the nation, causing thousands of car accidents every year. According to the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), there were 1,221 alcohol-involved fatal motor vehicle accidents in 2018. Another 742 traffic fatalities resulted from drug-involved accidents that same year.
If you were injured in a DUI accident in Vista, California, Petrov Law Firm is here to assist you with every phase of your case.
How Our Vista Car Accident Lawyers Can Help If You Were Injured in a DUI Crash
If you were injured by a drunk driver, the last thing you should have to deal with is an insurance company that is trying to keep you from the fair compensation you deserve.
Petrov Law Firm’s Vista personal injury attorneys have over two decades of combined legal experience. We put our client’s best interests first, a strategy that has helped us obtain more than $40 million in compensation for our injured clients.
We’ll provide comprehensive legal services to assist you with your DUI accident case, including:
- Launching a full investigation into the crash
- Gathering critical evidence to help establish that the driver was under the influence at the time of the accident
- Taking into account the full extent of your damages
- Fighting for fair compensation through negotiation and/or trial
We encourage you to contact our Vista, CA law firm today to find out more about how we can help.
What Are the Dangers of DUI?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drinking alcohol or consuming drugs can reduce the important skills people need to drive safely.
In particular, the dangers of DUI include:
- Impaired judgment – Alcohol and drugs can affect areas of your brain that control judgment.
- Impaired vision – Alcohol and some drugs can blur your vision, cause double vision, and slow your ability to focus. Vision is particularly important during driving because it controls depth perception, the distance that you project another vehicle is from you. When you cannot adequately judge distance, you could turn in front of a vehicle and cause a serious crash.
- Decreased energy – Alcohol is a depressant. It and other depressant drugs can cause you to lose energy, become fatigued, and ultimately fall asleep at the wheel.
- Delayed reaction time – Alcohol and drugs can also slow your ability to process information. This can cause you to have a delayed reaction when you recognize a hazard.
Ultimately, alcohol and drugs can affect a driver’s ability to accurately perceive their surroundings, react to emergencies, and skillfully operate a vehicle. This is why impaired individuals should not be behind the wheel.
What Are California’s Laws on Drunk Driving?
According to the California DMV, it is illegal for anyone to operate a vehicle with a:
- Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher if they are 21 or older
- BAC of 0.04% or higher if they are operating a vehicle requiring a CDL
- BAC of 0.04% or higher if they are a driver for hire and a passenger is in the vehicle at the time
- BAC of 0.01% or higher if they are under 21
- BAC of 0.01% or higher if they are on DUI probation
- Any drug that impairs their ability to drive
- Any combination of drugs and alcohol that impairs their ability to drive
Even if a driver is below the limits above, they can still face DUI charges if their driving was impaired by alcohol or drugs.
What Are the Penalties for a DUI in California?
If a driver is convicted of DUI and has an excessive BAC level, they can be sentenced to up to six months in jail and be ordered to pay a fine of $390–$1,000 for their first conviction. Additionally, their vehicle may be impounded, and they may have to pay storage fees to get it out. Stiffer penalties apply for repeat convictions. DUI convictions stay on DMV records for ten years.
The offender’s driving privileges will be suspended for six months. They will have to complete a DUI program, pay all fees, and file a California Insurance Proof Certificate to have their driving privileges reinstated. If a driver had a BAC above a certain limit, they could also be required to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle.
These are just the criminal penalties. The offender may also be subject to civil lawsuits for the harm they cause.
Evidence To Help Establish Liability in a Vista DUI Accident
If you suspect that drugs or alcohol may have impaired the driver who hit you, you will want to obtain evidence to prove this.
Applicable evidence may include:
- The accident report that indicates the police officer’s suspicion of impairment or an arrest
- Medical records that show blood or alcohol test results
- Court records that show a history of impaired driving
- Photos of the accident scene that show bottles or drug paraphernalia
- Witness statements indicating the driver was drinking or doing drugs just before the accident
- Surveillance footage of the moments leading up to the accident
A Vista DUI accident attorney can help identify, preserve, and gather critical evidence in your case.
What Are Potential Damages in a Vista DUI Accident Case?
If a drunk driver caused you injuries, you may be able to recover compensation for the medical expenses stemming from the accident, such as:
- Hospital stays
- Emergency treatment
- Ambulance expense
- Surgical costs
- Prescription medication
- Follow-up care
- Specialist visits
- Anticipated future medical expenses
Additionally, you could recover compensation for your lost wages and property damage.
California law also allows you to recover compensation for non-financial losses, such as your pain and suffering.
California also allows for the awarding of punitive damages in some cases. Punitive damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer. You could possibly recover these damages if you can show by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant acted with a willful disregard for the safety of others or caused a homicide and was convicted of a felony because of their drunk driving.
Contact Our Vista DUI Accident Lawyers for a Free Consultation
If you were injured in a DUI crash in or near Vista, CA, you have the right to seek financial compensation for the losses you have suffered. Trust your case to Petrov Law Firm. Our Vista car accident attorneys will fight tirelessly for the results you deserve. You can schedule a free consultation by calling our law firm today.