Driving under the influence of alcohol is both illegal and extremely dangerous. Those who get behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated needlessly risk not just their lives and the lives of any passengers with them, but also the lives of every other person who shares the road with them.
It is a negligent and selfish act. As such, it should come as no surprise that it is punished harshly in most states.
In addition, impaired driving can play a big role in civil personal injury claims. A person who is injured in an accident caused by a driver found guilty of DUI can seek compensation for injuries and not have to go through nearly as much trouble to prove the driver’s liability. The presence of impaired driving essentially makes the at-fault party automatically liable.
Criminal penalties for DUI
A first-offense DUI does not have any mandatory minimum jail time in Florida. Imprisonment for a first offense is left to the discretion of the court. A first conviction may result in up to $1,000 in fines, and the penalties can get quite severe if the driver’s actions caused injuries or death.
Subsequent offenses come with harsher penalties. The second offense is the first to carry a minimum jail sentence (10 days), and minimum jail sentences and fines increase for every offense after the second.
Impaired driving civil claims
Drunk or impaired motorists may also face civil consequences for their negligence. Any accident victims or their families may file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party, seeking compensation for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.
To learn more about how you can proceed with a personal injury claim against a negligent driver, speak with a knowledgeable Bradenton car accident attorney at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh.