Did you know Bakersfield had 723 driving under the influence or intoxication (DUI) arrests in 2020 alone? If you are a victim of a DUI car crash in Bakersfield, you may file a claim against the at-fault driver and claim compensation for the accident’s damages.
However, you must prove that the other driver was driving under the influence that caused the crash to win the case. You can do this by:
- Checking for signs of intoxication.
- Gathering evidence of the DUI offense.
- File a report with the police.
- Contact a lawyer.
What Is a DUI?
An officer may charge you with a DUI offense if you are driving under the influence of alcohol or any toxic substance. Generally, an officer has the right to charge you with a DUI offense if you have a blood alcohol content of the following:
|0.08% or higher
|over 21 years old
|0.01% or higher
|21 years old and below
|0.01% or higher
|at any age and are on DUI probation
|0.04% or higher
|a commercial driver
|0.04% or higher
|driving a passenger for hire
If the authorities determine that you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may face legal consequences, such as driver’s license suspension.
Is DUI a Felony or Misdemeanor?
Generally, a DUI offense is a misdemeanor in California. However, it may escalate to a felony under specific circumstances.
Under Vehicle Code 23152, it is unlawful to operate a vehicle if you are under the influence of drugs and alcohol. First, second, and third DUI offenses may still be considered a misdemeanor with the following legal consequences:
- DUI probation for three to five years,
- DUI classes for three to nine months,
- fines ranging from $390 to $ 1,000,
- driver’s license suspension for six months,
- installation of ignition interlock devices for six months, or
- jail time of up to six months.
Moreover, a DUI offense may aggravate a felony under these circumstances:
- driving under the influence resulting in injuries,
- driving under the influence causing wrongful death,
- having prior DUI convictions within a certain period.
If you are charged with a DUI felony, you may one or more of the following legal penalties:
- two to four years in a California state prison
- fines from $1,015 to $5,000
- DUI school for up to a 30 month
- driver’s license revocation
- traffic offender status, or
- victim restitution.
Does Insurance Cover DUI Accidents?
Typically, you will spot a DUI driver if they commit one or more of the following unpleasant traffic behaviors:
- driving outside the designated lanes,
- slow reaction to traffic signals,
- driving without headlights at night,
- driving below the speed limit,
- turning abruptly or illegally,
- driving on the wrong side of the road,
- leaving the accident scene without notifying you or the authorities.
If you are involved in a DUI crash in Bakersfield, you may recover compensation from the driver’s insurance provider. However, you will need to prove that the other driver’s negligence caused the crash to be able to receive restitution.
On the other hand, while drunk driving may be intentional, DUI drivers do not intend to cause a car accident. This is why your collision coverage may pay for the vehicle damages if you were drunk driving and caused an auto collision.
4 Steps to Prove DUI in Bakersfield
Alcohol intoxication happens when a person consumes excessive amounts of alcohol within a short period. This causes physical and behavioral symptoms that may alter an individual’s judgment and coordination.
If you are involved in a DUI car crash in Bakersfield, follow these four easy steps to prove the other driver’s DUI offense.
Step 1: Check for Signs of Intoxication
When a drunk driver hits you, you will often notice a change in their behavior. Check for signs of intoxication to identify if they committed a DUI offense, such as:
- smell of alcohol
- altered mood
- lack of coordination and balance
- dilated pupils and red eyes
- slurred speech
- slow to react
- reduced muscle control, such as the inability to focus their eyes
- vomiting (in some cases)
- difficulty staying awake
The other driver will usually try to talk to you after the accident. If you identify the symptoms of intoxication, take note of their behavior and share this information with the police. By doing this, your testimony will serve as evidence to support the driver’s DUI offense.
Step 2: Gather Evidence
Aside from your testimony, you will need other evidence to prove the driver’s DUI offense that caused your car crash in Bakersfield. You may check the following evidence at the accident scene to support your claim:
- Other witness testimonies
In the event that you have been in an accident where there are witnesses within the location, you can seek their testimony on how the car crash happened and how both parties responded after the incident.
Bystanders’ and other witnesses’ testimonies can help support your statement about what happened and how the driver at fault reacted after the collision.
- Surveillance footage or dashcam videos
Check for surveillance by CCTV cameras within the location area. This can help the police understand what caused the car crash and how it happened. In addition, you can also use your dash camera footage to show how the other vehicle hit you.
- Photos of the accident scene and the other driver’s vehicle
In some cases, a drunk driver chooses to flee the scene of the accident because they are guilty of a DUI offense. When this happens, you must take photos of the driver’s vehicle to obtain their plate number.
You may also capture the accident scene to capture fallen parts or materials that will help you identify the identity and location of the driver.
These pieces of evidence can help you prove that the driver committed a DUI offense, leading to an accident. You may pursue a claim and receive compensation if you justify that the other driver is responsible for the crash.
Step 3: File a Report to the Police
A police report is a vital key to building an injury case. This will help you establish who is accountable for the accident. Aside from this, insurance companies will likely verify the nature of the crash by examining the police report when calculating compensation.
Make sure to follow these steps when filing a police report:
- Provide the exact time, date, and location of the accident.
- Share your information and cooperate with the police.
- Narrate how the crash happened.
- Inform the police of your observations of the driver’s behavior.
- Make a copy and share the photos and videos of the accident scene to support your claim.
Suppose the police deem that the other driver was driving under the influence. In that case, they are likely to issue a chemical test to prove the presence of alcohol in the body. This will determine if the driver is guilty of the DUI offense and will help you prove liability.
Step 4: Contact a Bakersfield DUI Attorney
As you progress through the DUI case, you should contact a Bakersfield DUI attorney to help you defend your claim. While proving the other driver’s DUI offense is beneficial, insurance companies can still argue that you are partially at fault for the accident.
An accident lawyer can help you prove who is liable for the collision and determine the total compensation you may receive from the accident. They can also help you with the following:
- Gather evidence.
- Establish the DUI offense of the other driver.
- Prove that the other driver’s DUI offense caused the accident.
- Examine the nature of the accident.
- Provide legal options that suit your needs.
- Calculate the total damages.
- Negotiate with the insurance company.
- Assist in a trial proceeding if necessary.
Establishing the other driver’s DUI offense alone cannot prove that the accident was due to their wrongdoing. You may still encounter several challenges that will hinder you from receiving restitution for the crash. This is why seeking legal guidance from a Bakersfield DUI attorney is essential to winning your case.
What Types of Compensation Can I Receive for a DUI Car Accident Claim?
An accident caused by a DUI driver may result in minor to major injuries and other damages. When you are involved in a car crash in Bakersfield due to a DUI driver’s negligence, you may consider the following damages when calculating the total compensation value:
|Economic Damages (financial losses)
|Non-economic Damages (non-monetary losses)
While these damages can be included in your compensation, you may wonder how to quantify non-monetary losses, such as pain and suffering. A Bakersfield DUI attorney can compute all possible damages to maximize your payout, including non-economic losses.
Additionally, they will examine your accident and determine if you are qualified for punitive damages. These are costs awarded to victims if the at-fault driver’s actions are seen to be malicious, extreme, or intentional.
What Are the Challenges of DUI in Bakersfield?
There are several challenges of DUI cases in Bakersfield that may reduce your chances of claiming restitution from the accident. Some of these may be:
- The at-fault driver flees the scene of the accident.
It can be challenging to pursue a case if the driver responsible for the crash leaves the scene without notifying you of their information.
- Insurance companies take advantage of your injured state.
Sometimes, your accident may be so severe that you incur bodily injuries from the crash. Insurance companies will likely offer you a settlement amount that can barely cover your current and future medical costs and other expenses.
- The insurance company refuses to pay due to a lack of evidence.
If you are severely hurt in a car crash in Bakersfield, collating evidence at the accident scene would be challenging. Without proof, the insurance company will refuse to compensate for the accident’s damages.
Bakersfield DUI attorneys can try to examine the nature of the accident, prove liability, and determine legal options for you to receive the compensation you deserve.
Do I Need a Bakersfield DUI Attorney When Filing for a Case?
While it is possible to pursue a case independently, hiring a lawyer will be beneficial, especially if you have loopholes in your case.
Suppose you were involved in a car crash in Bakersfield caused by a DUI driver. Unfortunately, the driver fled the accident scene without reporting the collision to the authorities. How will you now recover compensation for the damages? In such cases, a Bakersfield DUI attorney will investigate your case and determine what types of insurance coverage can be used to help with your financial losses.
A personal injury lawyer can assist in the following:
- Gathering sufficient evidence to support your claim.
- Prove liability.
- Calculate the total compensation value.
- Communicate with the insurance provider.
- Meet legal deadlines.
- Defend your case in a trial if needed.
Jacoby and Meyers Law Offices have passionate lawyers who can understand your situation and defend your rights as a victim of DUI in Bakersfield. We provide the highest quality of service by putting you first and doing our best to protect your rights. Contact us today at 800-992-2222 for a free consultation. We are available for you.