The Legal Consequences of DUI-Related Car Accidents in Miami

The Legal Consequences of DUI-Related Car Accidents in Miami

May 09 2024

Every year, thousands of car accidents in the US can be traced back to alcohol consumption or driving under the influence. In fact, a recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that “about 31% of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers.”

Unfortunately, alcohol-related car accidents are also a common occurrence in Miami. For example, in 2020, the arrest rate in Miami for people driving under the influence was 32 arrests per 100,000 people. Furthermore, a 2018 study found that “2% of adults in Florida reported driving after drinking too much in the past thirty days”, despite being aware of the dangers associated with this.

DUI-induced accidents are highly preventable and can have devastating consequences. For this reason, it is crucial that those who are hurt or injured during a DUI incident seek out legal support.

What are the implications of driving under the influence?

When a person gets behind the wheel while under the influence, they are immediately putting themselves and others at risk. Inebriation is often reflected in a lack of situational and hazard awareness. It also encourages similarly reckless behavior, such as disregarding speed limits and other traffic regulations.

Driving under the influence can also slow down response times. For example, a study published by Michigan Medicine found that when “cruising at 70 miles per hour, a drunk driver would travel for an additional 12 feet before reacting to a roadway hazard.

What are the legal consequences of Dui-related car accidents?

Consequences for the victim.

As mentioned above, a staggering number of alcohol or drug-related car accidents result in fatalities. However, victims of these accidents could also be left with severe or life-altering injuries. This means that the incident will have a profound impact on their life moving forward, whether they’re dealing with a lengthy recovery period or mounting medical bills.

Being involved in a roadside accident can also negatively harm a person’s mental health, with one study finding that “RTA (Road Traffic Accident) survivors reported substantial rates of PTSD (35.5%) and depression (20.0%) symptoms.”

Being involved in an accident can also harm the victim’s financial situation. For example, they may be met with an onslaught of medical bills, which show no sign of slowing down if they require additional support, such as physiotherapy or meditation. The situation can be made worse by their needing to take unpaid time off work in order to recover, resulting in a significant loss of income.

Finally, if their car is damaged or written off, the cost of repairs or replacing the vehicle outright could again worsen their financial situation, especially if this is not properly covered by their insurance provider.

Again, this demonstrates why victims should undoubtedly consider filing legal charges and seek compensation in the aftermath of an accident.

Consequences for the perpetrator.

In the state of Florida, it is illegal to drive with a BAC (Blood Alcohol Limit) of more than 0.08%, per Statute § 316.193. If an individual is found to have exceeded this, then they are in a clear breach of the law and ought to be held accountable for their actions.

Whether they are involved in an accident or simply pulled over due to erratic driving, there are severe legal ramifications associated with DUIs in Miami (and Florida as a whole). This can include fines, license suspension, and jail times, though this will vary on a case-by-case basis, often at the discretion of the presiding judge.

The Legal Process.

If you were the victim of a DUI-related accident and are considering pressing charges, then having an understanding of the legal process ahead of time can reduce any stress or anxiety you may be feeling relating to this.

  1. Seek Medical Attention. Seeking medical attention as soon as possible after the accident is crucial, even if you feel fine or as though your injuries are minimal. Not only does this ensure that you receive the care you deserve, but it also means that you have medical records that prove that you were injured as a result of the accident.
  1. Report the incident and gather evidence. Reporting the incident is also crucial and will act as evidence in court proceedings. Per Florida Statutes § 316.066, the report must be filed to the relevant authorities within 10 days. During this time, you should also gather as much evidence as possible, such as photographs of the crash site. This can be used in court proceedings and also when contacting your insurance.
  1. Seek out legal representation. Once you’ve followed the above steps, reaching out to a lawyer is crucial, especially if you have little understanding of the legal system. Not only can they assist when it comes to gathering evidence, but they will also improve your chances of success, whether you are pressing charges or seeking compensation.
  1. Lawsuit. In the case of DUIs, law enforcement will automatically pursue criminal charges, alongside any civil lawsuit that you may decide to file, and you’ll be kept up-to-date with how this is going. In some cases, you may be asked to appear in court or to provide further evidence, though your lawyer will be able to provide you with more insight into this.

What charges does someone face for DUI?

There are many potential charges that an individual found guilty of driving under the influence could face in Miami, this includes:

  • Fines. For a first-time DUI conviction, the fine will be between $500 and $1,000, though this will increase for repeat offenders.
  • Lisence suspension. Driving under the influence in Miami will automatically result in a lisence suspension. If nobody is injured and this is a first-time DUI, this is typically 180 days. Repeat offenses, or manslaughter charges, could result in a permanent revocation of their lisence.
  • Jailtime. Those convicted of DUI can also face jail time, though the length of sentencing can vary depending on the circumstances of the accident or the severity of the injuries of any victims. Typically, those convicted on a first offense without having caused any injuries are between six and nine months.
  • Driving Courses. Many of those involved in a DUI case will also be required to participate in a driving under the influence course before their lisence is reinstated. This helps to prevent repeat behavior and make clear the dangers of their reckless actions, even if nobody was injured as a result of their behavior.
  • Community Service. In Miami, those convicted of driving under the influence are often required to participate in community service after the fact.

While the above list does provide you with some indication of the charges an individual facing a DUI could be met with, it’s important to note that this changes on a case-by-case basis. When the judge is sentencing the perpetrator, a range of factors will be taken into account, such as previous criminal history, or the extent of any injuries caused by their actions. This, in turn, can impact the conviction.

What to do if you were involved in a DUI incident.

If you are involved in a DUI-related car accident in Miami, it’s crucial that you seek out legal representation right away.

This will protect your best interests moving forward, especially when seeking compensation. After all, your lawyer will be able to ensure that your best interests are protected moving forward, whether you’re filing the relevant paperwork, gathering evidence, or heading to the courtroom.

Furthermore, it is essential that perpetrators are held responsible for their actions, especially when you consider the fact that this deters repeat behavior. After all, though they can have devastating consequences, DUI-related car accidents are entirely preventable.

Get in touch today to find out more.

If you are the victim of a DUI-related accident and are worried about how to proceed when taking legal action, we are here to help. Accidents happen, and while we cannot always prevent them, we are in control of how we respond to them, especially when we are the victim in the scenario.

At the Law Office of Cary Woods II, we have years of experience supporting clients in seeking compensation in a range of personal injury cases, including automobile or car accidents. Our track record of success means that you are in good hands moving forward, and we’re also on hand to answer any questions you may have during this time.

Our familiarity with the Miami-Court system also means that we’re able to work as quickly as possible, which means that you will not have to wait around for months and months on end to gain access to the support you need. This allows you to focus on what matters: your recovery and getting your life back on track.

If you’d like to find out more, please do not hesitate to get in touch today.