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Penalties for a DUI involving a traffic collision.

Most people arrested for a DUI are pulled over by the police for a traffic infraction, or as a result of weaving or other driving pattern giving the police probable cause for a traffic stop and dui investigation. However, a DUI arrest can result from a traffic accident, leading to the possibility of more serious penalties for the defendant.

Obviously, a traffic accident, even a minor collision involving minor property damage, is a red flag to a prosecutor and an aggravating factor which may lead to jail time or other more punitive penalties. A prosecutor will be concerned that there is a potential victim who has suffered financial loss or personal injury and will want to make sure that the victim is fully compensated.

An accident involving personal injuries to a third party can result in a Felony DUI filing if the injuries are more than minor.

With any DUI case involving an accident, the first step in defending the case is to establish the cause of the accident. Just because the defendant has been charged with DUI does not necessarily mean that he or she was at fault for the accident. The next issue is to make contact with the insurance companies involved to make sure that any victim is appropriately compensated. The criminal court can order a defendant to make restitution to the victim following a DUI conviction, but would not normally do this if an insurance company has already met the claim.

The vehicle code does not specifically mandate any additional penalties for a DUI involving a traffic collision, (unless personal injuries are caused) which means that any additional penalties requested by a prosecutor are subject to negotiation and thereby potentially avoided. Effective representation by an experienced dui defense attorney is essential in these circumstances.