The Consequences of Getting into a Drunk Driving Accident
December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month and for good reason. With holiday celebrations happening this month, there is bound to be plenty of drinking and driving going on in the next few weeks.
According to the latest statistics by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 10,000 people had died in alcohol-related crashes in the United States in 2017. Drunk or drugged accidents accounted for 29 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2017, according to the NHTSA. And the sad part about these types of crashes is they are 100 percent avoidable. All the impaired driver had to do was not get behind the wheel of a vehicle.
If you are the driver, do you know what can happen to you?
When You Get Into a Drunk Driving Accident
New Jersey has some pretty stiff penalties for impaired drivers. If your blood alcohol content is over 0.08%, you can face jail time, a suspended license, hefty fines, and a possible ignition interlock placed on your car. But what happens if you get into an accident while intoxicated?
As you can imagine, you’ll be facing severe consequences. If the accident had caused bodily injury, you will be charged with Assault By Auto, a disorderly persons offense. The penalties all depend on the severity of the injuries and where the offense was committed. For example, if the accident was caused at a school, you could be charged with second-degree assault and face up to 10 years in state prison plus fines. However, if there were only slight injuries, you may be only facing up to six months in the county jail and a $1,000 fine.
But if someone dies in a drunk driving accident, the charge is more severe. This is considered Death by Auto or Vessel, more commonly referred to as vehicular homicide which comes with a prison sentence of more than three years with no eligibility for parole.
How You Can Avoid an Assault By Auto Charge
In New Jersey, the prosecution will need to prove the following in an Assault By Auto case:
- The defendant was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident;
- The defendant had caused bodily injury to the victim;
- The defendant had caused the injury because he/she was driving recklessly; and
- The defendant’s BAC was above the legal limit or was under the influence of drugs
Remember, a criminal case is different than a civil lawsuit. The prosecution must have concrete evidence to prove a defendant’s guilt. That’s why it’s extremely important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to learn what options are available and explain your case to the courtroom. With the right attorney by your side, you may be able to plead to a lesser charge.
Contact Our New Jersey DUI Lawyer Today
Drunk driving is easily avoidable. If you are drinking a little too much this holiday season, call an Uber, ride with a friend, or sleep it off until you are sober. Don’t chance your freedom.
However, if you did get into an accident while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, we can help. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone today for a free consultation of your claim.