Posted in DUI News on October 9, 2019
Let’s say you’ve had a couple of drinks and are driving home for the night. It’s not a smart – or legal – thing to do, but things happen. Trying to stay as safe as possible, you keep your car at about 15 mph under the speed limit. An impatient – but sober – driver behind you decides to pass, but clips the front of your car, causing both vehicles to veer off the road.
What you do immediately after this accident can have a great impact on your life.
I Got Into an Accident After I Was Drinking. What Should I Do?
While it’s true that you are putting everyone else on the road at risk when you get behind the wheel after a few cocktails, there is a huge difference between breaking the law by driving drunk and being at fault for the accident.
Simply being involved in a car accident – whether you’re tipsy or stone-cold sober – can be a stressful event, and lead to a lot of confusion. It’s important, though, to keep your cool and maintain your wits.
Here is a list of five things you should do if you’re involved in a drunk driving accident.
1. Stay at the scene.
Regardless of who is at fault, Georgia law demands that all drivers involved in an accident stay on site. You may face felony charges simply for leaving the scene of the accident. When asked, you’ll have to provide your name and address and the registration of the vehicle you’re driving, and show your driver’s license to anyone else involved in the accident.
2. Call an ambulance.
Help anyone who was injured get the medical care they need. Also required by Georgia law: make every reasonable effort to contact emergency medical services if there are injuries.
3. Don’t apologize or admit fault.
Do not admit fault. When you’re involved in an accident, what you do not say at the scene can be just as important as what you do say. You can bet that any admission or acceptance of responsibility on your part will make its way into the incident report. Once you say it, there’s no taking it back. Rather than placing or accepting blame, tell police what happened from your perspective.
4. Don’t say more than you have to.
Keep your conversations with the police as short as possible. The less you say to the police, the better off you are in the long run. Be polite and try to avoid becoming emotional or passing blame to someone else. Instead, just stick to the facts. Simply state what you were doing, what the other driver was doing, and how the accident occurred.
At the end of your conversation with the officer, be sure to get their name and badge number so that your criminal defense lawyer can obtain a copy of the incident report.
5. Call an Atlanta DUI defense lawyer.
Contact an experienced Atlanta DUI lawyer. Again, the penalties for driving drunk in Georgia are tough, and they only get tougher if there are injuries in a drunk driving accident.
A DUI attorney can be a strong advocate for you, and literally be the difference-maker in whether or not you face jail time.
Should I Take a Field Sobriety or Breathalyzer Test?
There is nothing to be gained by taking either test, and your refusal to take them cannot be used against you later in court.
How is Fault for a Vehicle Accident Determined in Georgia?
Often, the responding police officer will make a determination about who is to blame for an accident. In other cases, insurance company adjusters will make the determination.
Since Georgia is an “at-fault state,” all drivers are required to have insurance. When multiple vehicles are involved in an accident, each driver’s insurance provider will assign adjusters to determine who is at fault.
In many instances, drivers actually share a percentage of the fault for the accident.
What’s the Penalty for Being Involved in a Drunk Driving Accident?
There’s little doubt that Georgia has some of the nation’s harshest penalties for driving under the influence (DUI). The potential punishments escalate in a hurry if there’s an accident.
While most DUI charges in Georgia are misdemeanors, you could face felony DUI charges if it’s proven you caused the accident. Penalties for a felony DUI in Georgia are between one and five years in jail and hefty fines.
The Bottom Line
Being involved in an accident – especially when you’ve been drinking – can be a stressful experience.
The key takeaways are to keep your cool, say as little as possible, help those who need it, and contact an Atlanta DUI lawyer as soon as possible.