Drunk Drivers: Civil and Criminal Penalties | Crowell Law Offices
Drunk Drivers: Civil and Criminal Penalties

17 Jan Drunk Drivers: Civil and Criminal Penalties

Individuals who suffer injuries by a drunk driver rightfully expect the drunk driver will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. However, many victims will wrongfully assume criminal charges are the only way to get justice.

However, when someone else is responsible for your suffering and serious injuries, you could hold them accountable in civil court as well. Below, we go into further detail about what the penalties are for drunk driving when someone is injured, how civil claims work for injuries caused by drunk driving and the role a Sacramento car accident lawyer will play in these events.

California Criminal Penalties For Drunk Driving

There are many factors that play into consideration when a judge or jury is sentencing someone for drunk driving. The higher the blood alcohol concentration levels, any previous drunk driving convictions, and whether someone was injured due to the defendant’s drunk driving will all play a part in the penalties the defendant receives.

Driving under the influence (DUI) cases where injuries occur are almost always to result in more severe consequences. The liable party could face felony or misdemeanor charges, license suspension, jail or prison time, installation of an ignition interlock device (IID), probation, community service, and completion of a drug or alcohol treatment program are all consequences the person who harmed you could face. 

It is important to note criminal prosecution of the defendant is not required in order for you to proceed with your civil claim. Although a guilty verdict could certainly help you if you pursue a civil claim, it is not essential to win your car accident lawsuit. 

Civil Consequences For Drunk Driving

When a drunk driver hits you, causing you to endure severe injuries, criminal court isn’t the only way to see justice served. By filing a civil lawsuit, you may not only ensure they’re held fully accountable but obtain an injury settlement that can help you in every aspect of your recovery.

Some different losses you may seek damages for as part of your drunk driving accident claim include:

  • Lost income and earning potential
  • Medical expenses and equipment 
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of companionship and love 
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Property damage
  • Reputational damage
  • Inconvenience
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering 
  • Loss of household services

These are just a few of the various economic and non-economic damages you could recover as part of your lawsuit. Your lawyer can give you a better idea of how much you could be awarded after closely reviewing the details of your case. 

Meet with a Lawyer

If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, there are steps you could take to get justice and hold the liable party accountable. 

Contact a reputable lawyer at Crowell Law Offices. To schedule your free, no-obligation consultation, call our office at 916-303-2800 or complete the quick contact form included at the bottom of this page.