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DUI Law: Civil vs. Criminal Court

The aftermath of a car accident is life-changing for all parties involved, but it can be especially difficult for someone who was seriously injured by a drunk driver. There is some level of unfairness that comes into play when a driver, who is following the rules of the road and driving cautiously, is hit by a driver who made the reckless decision to drive while intoxicated.

While the driver of the vehicle responsible may be subjected to criminal charges, due to Arizona’s strict DUI law, the relief that is available to help the victim of the crash depends on whether the remedies are in a civil or a criminal setting.

The injury attorneys at Phoenix Accident and Injury Law Firm in Phoenix have significant experience in helping clients who have been victims of DUI accidents. If you need help filing a claim for one of these awful, life changing accidents, we are here to help you get the compensation you deserve. Our offices are conveniently located in ChandlerPeoria, and North Phoenix, and we can meet in-person or over the phone or video call.  You can contact us for a free consultation, or read on to find out more.

By the way, we will also help with other problems that have cost you sleep, like getting a rental car very soon and finding a nearby doctor or psychiatrist who can help get your life back on track. Even the best legal team isn’t good enough if your quality of life isn’t sustainable while justice and compensation are on the way. The whole point of legal action is to regain quality of life, so we help you long-term as attorneys and short-term as your go-to people. Our familiarity with the local Phoenix courts and Arizona-specific DUI law makes us confident that we can help you get the best settlement possible.

If you are unsure whether or not you can afford an attorney, don’t worry. We only get paid when you settle. Check out our Attorney Fees Calculator to find out more.

Criminal or Civil, What’s the Difference?

The criminal court system in Arizona, as with criminal courts across the country, was designed to protect the public from future harm by punishing those who violate the laws of the state. These proceedings act as deterrents to others against violating Arizona’s DUI law, thereby in theory decreasing illegal activity by encouraging lawful conduct. Having fewer people who choose to violate Arizona’s laws arguably creates a safer living environment for Arizonans. It is for this reason that a reckless driver faces prosecution in a criminal court regardless of any damage.

DUI Law in Criminal and Civil Cases

Civil cases compensate victims of individuals who break the law for damages that they incurred because of illegal behavior. While restitution is available to victims in criminal cases, the amount is usually insufficient to cover the true costs to a victim of a drunk driver, as restitution only allows for actual damages. In a civil case, a victim may sue a drunk driver for damages that include property damages, medical bills, financial losses, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. These damages can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The differences between criminal and civil courts are not only the issue of damages. One important aspect that victims of drunk drivers should keep in mind is that the drunk driver will likely either plead guilty or be found guilty of a DUI in the criminal case. This information further helps in the civil case to prove that the driver was negligent and/or reckless when operating the vehicle that caused the accident in which the victim suffered damages.

Because Arizona is a fault state, which requires showing fault in order to recover damages, having evidence from a criminal case showing that a civil defendant either admitted to or was found to be guilty of driving under the influence goes a long way toward a victim’s burden of proving fault for the accident.

Conclusion

At Phoenix Accident and Injury Law Firm near you, we have more than 15 years of experience helping clients obtain compensation for their personal injuries from DUI accidents in the Phoenix area using the local Phoenix DUI laws. When you’re ready to talk, please contact our office to arrange a free initial consultation by phone or at our Chandler office, conveniently located near you.

If you have been in a DUI accident, contact Phoenix Accident and Injury Law Firm in nearby Chandler, AZ to speak with an experienced DUI law attorney. We provide personal injury legal services to clients in your area including ChandlerGilbertMesaScottsdale, Tempe, and Peoria.