Accident DUIs can result in catastrophic injuries or even death. If you get into an accident that results in injuries or death while you are driving under the influence, you can be charged with a felony. Charges can range from Operating While Intoxicated Causing Serious Bodily Injury to Second Degree Murder. Charges are not always determined immediately following the incident and can change or be amended as the case develops. Prosecutors take this crime seriously and may pursue very harsh penalties. At Michigan Defense Law, our Michigan DUI lawyers may be able to help you. Contact us to discuss your situation.Accident DUI
Prosecutors in Michigan take accident DUI seriously. With accident DUI, you are not pulled over while driving. Instead, the police may be called to the scene of the accident. An accident drunk driving case occurs following an investigation of the accident scene. Sometimes the driver only injures him or herself. However, an accident DUI may involve catastrophic injuries or even death to someone else. In serious cases involving death or catastrophic injury it is often important to seek defense around fault for the accident or causation factors. Arrest for OWI causing death or serious impairment of a bodily function must be strategically defended as prison sentences are possible, even for someone with no prior record.Penalties
If you are involved in a crash while driving under the influence, you may be facing penalties up to prison time. For example, there is a maximum sentence of up to five years and a fine of $1,000-$5,000 for the offense of Operating While Intoxicated Causing Serious Injury of another person. Serious injury is not necessarily permanent, debilitating injury. It can be an injury to a back or neck, broken bones or significant lacerations.
If another person was killed in the accident the maximum penalty is 15 years in prison and a fine of $2,500-$10,000 if you are convicted of Operating While Intoxicated Causing Death. It is especially crucial to consult a DUI attorney in Michigan as soon as possible. Small details in the case can make big differences in the final outcome. In a situation where an emergency responder dies, you could face a prison sentence up to a maximum term of 20 years and a fine of $2,500-$10,000. Obviously, convictions for many of these most serious offenses will also result in the revocation of your driving privileges, if convicted.
In addition to facing criminal penalties, you face the likelihood of a personal injury lawsuit. The criminal case pursued by prosecutors is independent from the civil case brought by an injured plaintiff. Even so, the investigation and outcome of a criminal case brought as the result of an accident DUI could have a substantial impact on the outcome of the civil case and whether you will need to pay damages. The prosecutor’s burden of proof to obtain a conviction against you in a criminal case is higher than in a civil case but the evidence obtained in the criminal OWI prosecution will likely be used against you in the civil case. Having a DUI attorney that understands the relationship between the civil and criminal actions is important. Judgments obtained against a party convicted of OWI causing injury or death are non-dischargeable in bankruptcy.Hit and Run
If many instances, the person accused of drunk driving causing injury or death may flee the scene. This can be caused by fear, shock, injury or directly as an attempt to avoid being caught. Whatever the reason, if this situation occurred it is very important for you to obtain experienced OWI counsel right away. Do not make any statements to the police.Defenses
You should not lose heart and assume that a conviction will occur simply because there was an accident associated with your DUI. There are various strategies that we may be able to employ to defend you. For instance, in some cases the cause of accident, meaning who was at fault, can be contested. Even if a person was guilty of drunk driving, they may not be guilty of the more serious offenses related to injury or death if cause of the accident or injury can be effectively challenged. Also, we can still use more traditional DUI defenses such as establishing that the police did not have probable cause to arrest you or that a chemical test was invalid or unreliable and should not be admitted into evidence. The prosecutor needs to determine when you were operating your car in order to make the chemical test relevant, since your blood alcohol levels rise and fall over a certain period of time after you drink. Under MCL 257.625a(6)(a), the amount of alcohol or presence of drugs as shown by a chemical analysis is presumed to be the same as the time when you operated the vehicle. This presumption also arises under the Michigan jury instructions. In some situations, we may be able to get chemical test results suppressed if the time when you were operating your car cannot be proven or if drugs or alcohol were ingested after the accident.Consult a Knowledgeable DUI Lawyer in Michigan
If you have been charged with an OWI/DUI causing serious injury or death in Michigan, you should consult our knowledgeable attorneys about your situation. Our experienced attorneys can work to find the strategy most likely to obtain the best results. Michigan Defense Law represents clients in Oakland, Wayne, Macomb, and Washtenaw Counties. Call us at (248) 451-2200 or complete our online form.