Being the Victim of a Drunk Driver Can Be Tough
It’s no secret that impaired driving puts you at greater risk of being involved in an accident, as your motor skills and reaction times are greatly reduced. Therefore, it is a violation of the law in the State of Colorado to drive with a blood alcohol level in excess of .05% or when your ability to drive is impaired by alcohol, drugs or a combination of both so that you are less able to safely drive – even to the slightest degree.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a driver who was impaired, you know how difficult it can be to recover and move on with your life. Here are some things that victims of DWAI, DUI, and/or DUID drivers should understand about taking legal action.
How Can Accident Victims Prove Negligence?
Individuals who are injured by a person suspected of DUI or DUID can pursue compensation under Colorado’s negligence laws. In order to prove that someone was negligent in Colorado, one must prove that the person in question violated the following:
- The suspect in question owed a duty of care to the alleged victim.
- The duty of care was violated through the suspect’s actions.
- The suspect’s violation was the cause of the victim’s injury.
- The victim sustained financial damages as a result of the alleged negligence.
Can a Person’s Criminal Conviction or Guilty Plea Be Used as Evidence?
If a person is impaired or under the influence of alcohol or drugs and causes a car accident, that person is considered negligent per se because driving a motor vehicle while inebriated is a violation of the law. This would constitute a violation of the duty of care that person owed you, and therefore he or she can be held legally and financially responsible for the damages to you.
DUIs and DUIDs by the Law
A person can be considered negligent in a Colorado car accident case even if he has not been found criminally guilty of a DUI or a DUID. In order to be guilty of a DUI or DUID, an individual must be proven to have violated this statute:
C.R.S. Title 42 Vehicles and Traffic § 42-4-1301
(1)(a) A person who drives a motor vehicle or vehicle under the influence of alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of both alcohol and one or more drugs, commits driving under the influence. Driving under the influence is a misdemeanor, but it is a class 4 felony if the violation occurred after three or more prior convictions, arising out of separate and distinct criminal episodes, for DUI, DUI per se, or DWAI; vehicular homicide, as described in section 18-3-106(1)(b), C.R.S .; vehicular assault, as described in section 18-3-205(1)(b), C.R.S .; or any combination thereof.
If a person is charged with DWAI, DUI, or DUID, he can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the case. If convicted of a misdemeanor DUI or misdemeanor DUID, the penalties can include:
- Jail time
- A fine from $500 to $1,500
- Revocation of driver’s license
- Community service
- Points on Colorado DMV record
If convicted of a Colorado felony DUI and/or DUID, penalties can include:
- A fine of $2,000 to $500,000
- Two to six years in Colorado state prison
- Three years’ mandatory parole
Call Grand Junction’s Premier Accident Attorneys!
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a driver who was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you need a veteran attorney to fight for the compensation you deserve. At Peters & Nolan, LLC, we have a record of success in representing the injured in auto accident cases. Our Grand Junction personal injury lawyers have more than 20 years of experience and have recovered millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for our clients. Call our office at (970) 243-4357 to schedule a consultation.
Peters & Nolan, LLC is your ideal source for high quality legal representation throughout the state of Colorado. Known for being personable and responsive, attorneys Andrew J. Peters and Andrew Nolan are aggressive trial lawyers with an excellent record of trying and settling cases in criminal defense, DUI/DWAI and personal injury.