Involvement in a DUI car accident could land you in serious trouble. Apart from legal penalties, the charges and legal procedures could be quite distressing mentally as well financially. Conviction in such cases may lead you to heavy fines or jail sentence and a criminal record that stays with you. However, you can defend yourself in such cases even if someone was injured or died. You just need to have an understanding about the accident conditions, legal proceedings and penalties that you might face and you can prevent the DUI charges from ruining your life. It is very important to know your rights pertaining to DUI charges so that you can decide your course of action immediately. Also, driving under the influence doesn’t always mean that the accident was your fault.
Call for Medical Assistance
Following a DUI accident, the first and the foremost thing to check is that if there is any injury or not. If anyone is hurt, you should immediately call for emergency medical aid. Also, report the status of those having injuries in the best possible way.
Report the Accident
Informing the concerned authorities about the accident is important. As per some of the state laws, all the accidents leading to physical injury or substantial property damage must be reported. If you are unsure about the law of your state, better call 911 and report the accident.
Avoid Refusal to Tests
When suspected for DUI, the police usually asks you to take breath, chemical or field sobriety test like walk and turn, horizontal gaze and standing on one leg. You can, of course, refuse to take the test and there won’t be any legal punishments for refusal but you would be ticketed for non-compliance. This may subject you to criminal or administrative penalties. Thus it’s best to cooperate with the tests.
Consult your Attorney before making Statements
In DUI cases involving car accidents, you must avoid making written or oral statements to the police officers before consulting your attorney. In case the authorities suspect you as the cause of the accident or for DUI, you can consult your attorney before giving out any statements.
Avoid making statements to victims
It best not to make any written or oral statements to the victims as well as witnesses. Even a simple statement like “I am sorry” could lead you to trouble because in the court it sounds like you are admitting your fault. However, in some states, expressions of regret are excluded from the evidence and if a state doesn’t have any such law, the judge may do so if he or she wishes to.
Avoid Leaving the Scene
In such cases, never leave the scene. Be present at the accident scene, especially, if there is another vehicle or a victim involved. Leaving the scene might trigger a claim of felony hit and run.
Take pictures of the vehicle as well as accident scene with your camera or cell phone having camera functionality. These could lead you to evidences that might work in your favor.
Note down the details of Potential Witnesses
At the accident scene, you must jot down the names, phone numbers and addresses of all the potential witnesses. This might be helpful if you believe that the accident wasn’t your fault. The information might not be in the police report and in such cases you can help yourself by contacting such witnesses.
Record your own Version of the Accident
Noting down your own version of what exactly happen could be quite helpful. Also note the date and time when you write. Mention “Confidential: Attorney-Client Privileged” over such statements and do not show it to anyone except your attorney. Mailing a copy of the statement to yourself is also a good idea to retain a postmark with the date on it.
Find out the Property Owners
In case you hit a damaged private property or an unattended vehicle, try to find out who is the owner of the property or the vehicle.
Charges for DUI car accident could pose a permanent impact on your personal as well as professional life. To get rid of such charges as soon as possible and to prevent it from jeopardizing your life, consult an experienced Denver DUI attorney immediately who can review your case and provide good legal assistance to protect your rights and interests.