Injuries and deaths caused by DUI accident victims on Arizona roads

Being involved in a car accident can change the lives of everyone involved, but when you’re a victim of a DUI accident it can be even more difficult. We’re all aware of the potential dangers when we get behind the wheel of a car so when you’re in an accident with someone who got behind the wheel too when intoxicated it can feel incredibly unfair and unjust. 

In the US, nearly 33% of all traffic deaths are caused by drivers who get behind the wheel under the influence of drink or drugs with many of these DUI drivers being repeat offenders. And according to the drink-driving charity, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), 10,500 deaths every year are caused by drunk drivers and that excludes those found under the influence of drugs. 

This problem isn’t going away as more people take to the roads and learn to drive every year, meaning an increase in victims of DUI accidents across America. Much of the property damage caused in a DUI accident can be very expensive to fix, as can medical bills for any injuries caused which is why it’s important to find the right attorney to represent your case. 

If you’re a DUI victim and want to understand your rights or want to discuss your case our experienced attorneys are here to help. We’ve gained a lot of experience representing previous DUI accident cases and are always happy to share our knowledge. Contact Thompson Law Firm today, or read on to learn more about DUI victim cases in Arizona.

What Defines DUI in Arizona

Arizona law makes it unlawful for a person to “drive or be in physical control of a vehicle” while they’re:

  • Under the influence of intoxicating liquor, drugs, or a vapor-releasing substance containing a toxic substance
  • In control of the vehicle with an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more
  • Under the influence or have any drug or its metabolite in their body
  • A commercial vehicle driver who has an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more.

When a drunk-driver is caught and goes through the court system, there are a variety of sentences that can be applied. These depend on a few factors such as the severity of the crash, the impact on victims, and whether the incident is a first or subsequent DUI charge. 

Drivers caught in Arizona under the influence of drink or drugs who’ve caused an accident with another vehicle have to be convicted of DUI before the accident case goes to court.

What Is Restitution in a DUI case?

Restitution is a sum of money that the DUI defendant is ordered to pay the victim of their crime. This is opposite to a fee, which is the money a defendant must pay to the state, federal, or local government that’s prosecuting the crime. 

Restitution shouldn’t be confused with other types of damages that allow for payments for pain and suffering, as these types of damages are only available in civil cases. However, someone who gets injuries in a car accident may also bring a suit against a reckless driver in civil court to recover the full amount of damages.

How The Law Calculates Restitution

The final restitution amount is calculated by the court based on the damages incurred by the victim of the drunk driver. This amount is likely to include the costs of repairing and/or replacing the victim’s car, lost wages, and medical bills for the victim.

Whilst restitution orders can’t be discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding, they can be enforced via wage garnishment (when it’s collected at the source of your pay). Restitution can even extend a defendant’s probationary period for up to five years until they pay the restitution amount in full.  A restitution order can also survive the death of a defendant and be enforced against their estate.  

Arizona law doesn’t take restitution payments lightly, and while a defendant will not be forced to pay more than they can afford per month, these payments will not cease until they pay the entire balance.  

In fact, Arizona’s DUI laws are some of the strictest in the nation and the damages available to victims are intentionally high to deter future drunk driving. A driver convicted of a DUI offense in Arizona may also be facing a sentence that includes jail time, fines, fees- and that’s on top of restitution.

What are the penalties for DUI in Arizona?

A person convicted of DUI for the first time can be served any of the following penalties;

  • 10 consecutive days in jail without probation or suspension 
  • A fine of $250.
  • May be ordered to perform community service
  • Pay $500 to the prison construction and operations fund 
  • Pay $500 to the public safety equipment fund.
  • On a report of the conviction, any motor vehicle the person operates will be fitted with a certified ignition interlock device.
  • Restitution payment based on the court findings

A judge may suspend the sentence if the driver completes court-ordered alcohol or drug treatment, screening, or education program. If the driver fails to complete the program, they may have to serve the rest of their suspended sentence.

Repeat DUI Offenders in Arizona

If a person is convicted of DUI for a second time within 7 years of the first conviction, they will be facing;

  • 90 days in jail, 30 days of which shall be served consecutively and is not eligible for probation or suspension 
  • A fine of $500.
  • Ordered to perform at least 30 hours of community service
  • Will have their driving privilege revoked for one year
  • Will pay $1,250 to the prison construction and operations fund 
  • And $1,250 to the public safety equipment fund.

Arizona state law doesn’t take DUI accidents lightly and the penalties truly reflect the crime in the eyes of the law. If you’ve been involved in an accident with a driver who was under the influence or have a question about a DUI case, why not speak to our experienced attorneys here at Thompson Law.

Our experienced attorneys offer comprehensive guidance on all personal injury matters by phone or video conference call.

Our team of lawyers work closely with their injury clients across Arizona, communicating clearly whilst offering reassurance and empathy through an often very difficult and emotional process. During the free consultation, our lawyers will discuss your concerns before creating a comprehensive plan for you, while also assessing the strength of your claim.

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