What Happens if You Hurt Someone in a Drunk Driving Accident?

What Happens if You Hurt Someone in a Drunk Driving Accident?

Driving while drunk isn’t just frowned upon in California, it’s illegal. While you’re allowed to go out and have a good time, if that good time involves drinking alcohol, you need to pay careful attention to how much you consume. As soon as your blood alcohol level reaches 0.08%, you’re no longer legally allowed to drive. 

What Happens if You Get Caught Drunk Driving in California?

Don’t assume that just because you’ve never had a drunk driving offense that you have nothing to worry about the first time you’re charged with drunk driving in California. Even though it’s your first offense, it’s still going to have a massive impact on your immediate future.

First the fines. California law is written in such a way that in addition to being required to pay anywhere from $390-$1,000 in fines, you can also pay something that’s called penalty assessments. 

Once you’re convicted of first-time drunk driving the judge has the option of sentencing you to jail time. This is in addition to the fines. While there’s no mandatory jail time for a first-time drunk driving conviction, the judge could decide that you need to spend 48 hours to 6 months in jail.

Plan on losing your driving privileges. As soon as you’ve been officially convicted of your first DUI, your license will be suspended for six months. If you refused to submit to a bloc alcohol concentration test, an administrative license suspension could also be enforced which would mean losing your license for a full year.

What Happens if Someone is Injured Because you Were Driving Drunk in California

There’s no way of getting around the fact that if you injure someone while you’re driving drunk, you’ll face far more serious consequences for your actions than if you’re simply pulled over. How severe those additional consequences depends on several different factors including:

• If you have a previous history of DUI
• How severely injured the victim is
• Additional circumstances surrounding the incident

 
In California, DUIs that involve injuries are treated as wobblers, meaning they can be handled as either a misdemeanor or a felony. If the circumstances surrounding the incident indicate that your case is a felony, you could be sentenced to up to four years in prison and be required to pay a maximum fine of $5,000.

In addition to facing criminal charges, you’ll also likely be named the defendant in a civil case. During the civil case, your victim will seek financial compensation for both their medical expenses and their emotional/physical pain and suffering.

Considering the negative impact a DUI has on your life, it’s in your best interest to always have a designated driver whenever you go out and drink.

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Stay Safe Going into the New Year

Stay Safe Going into the New Year

Going out on the town and painting it red on New Year’s Eve always seems like a great way to ring in the New Year. Celebrating at bars, restaurants, clubs, and community events is a lot of fun and a great way to create some spectacular memories, but it can also be dangerous. The good news is that there are steps you can take to protect yourself while making the holiday a memorable experience.

Pick a Group of Trusted Friends

There is safety in numbers which is why you should plan on going out with a group of people who are just as excited about going out as you are and who you trust. Before hitting the town, decide on things like who is driving (or if you’re getting a rideshare car or cab home.) Agree that no matter what happens, everyone leaves each location with the others, that no one leaves anyone behind, and have a form of communication ready to go if someone does get separated from the group.

Limit Your Drinking

Yes, you want to have a good time, but don’t drink so much alcohol that you get into a fight with your friends, or your normally good judgment wavers. Know what your limit is and pace yourself accordingly. If you do imbibe in too much alcohol, make sure at least one member of your friend group is sober enough to watch out for you.

No matter what you’re drinking, never leave your drink unattended. If you do have to leave your drink, order a new one when you return to the table. Never drink from a glass that you’ve lost track of, no matter how temporarily.

Stick to Areas You’re Familiar With

New Year’s Eve isn’t really the night that you want to explore new locations. If you do want to go to a New Year’s Eve party that’s in a part of town you’re unfamiliar with, visit that area in the weeks leading up to the party. That gives you a chance to find the safest parking spaces, bus stations, cab stops, and walking routes.

Leave Your Valuables at Home

New Year’s Eve is not the time to be waving around a lot of cash or to show off the nice new jewelry you got for Christmas. Those things make you attractive to thieves and pick-pockets. Limit the amount of cash you have on you and keep your nicer items at home. 

Practice Self-Situational Awareness

Self-situational awareness is a great way to prevent yourself from becoming a victim this New Year’s Eve. The entire time you are out, be hypervigilant about your surroundings and the people in them. Pay extra attention to anyone who is taking an extreme interest in you or who seems to appear everywhere you do. 

Stay safe and have a wonderful time ringing in 2022.

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