If you or someone you love has been involved in a DUI case, you may have several DUI FAQs regarding such incidents’ legal implications and consequences. You know just how much of an effect a drunk driver has on everyday life. If the victim survives the crash, they can be left facing obstacles and unforeseen challenges. The cost of medical treatment and rehabilitation can take a toll physically, financially, and emotionally.
When DUI victims do not survive a crash caused by an intoxicated or impaired driver, their families may have numerous DUI FAQs that arise in the aftermath of such a tragedy. Family members are often left wondering why their innocent loved one was taken away from them in such a devastating manner. Surviving family members may suffer from emotional trauma and financial hardship, among other things. During this difficult time, having access to information and resources that address the common DUI FAQs can provide some guidance and support to the grieving families.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of an Arizona DUI accident, it is important to understand that you have rights,know DUI FAQS. Knowing, understanding, and asserting your rights as a victim or surviving family member can be fundamental to the healing process.
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 or read our DUI FAQS. Our offices are conveniently located in Chandler, Peoria, and North Phoenix, and we can meet in-person or over the phone or via video call. If you are searching for a DUI victim lawyer in Peoria, Phoenix, Chandler, Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, or Gilbert, do not hesitate to contact us.
You can contact us for a free consultation or read on our DUI FAQS 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 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.
“Let me start by saying how impressed I was with Ms. Karissa Murphy. She was very professional and prompt with everything I needed to accomplish during my time of difficulty. She was able to answer all of my questions, was responsive and respectful to everyone we encountered, and made the whole process very easy for me. I would recommend her to anyone looking for a great lawyer.” – Pat D. (Read this Review on Google)
“What can I say about the… [Phoenix Accident and Injury Law Firm]? They are AMAZING!! It’s never fun when you need an accident lawyer because you are pretty much in a bad place. Shane and the staff have been wonderful, kept me informed at every step of this process. I would recommend…. [Phoenix Accident and Injury Law Firm] to anyone, in fact, I have referred several friends already!! Thank you… [Phoenix Accident and Injury] Law Firm for everything you did for me!!!” – Kimberly L. (Read this Review on Google)
The commonly used acronym DUI stands for driving under the influence. In Arizona, it is against the law to commit an act constituting a DUI. According to Arizona Revised Statute § 28-1381:
It is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle in this state under any of the following circumstances:
Notably, a DUI does not necessarily have to involve intoxicating liquors under Arizona law but may result from using drugs or controlled substances that cause hallucinations or impair a person’s cognitive and motor functions. While an intoxicated driver can have used a variety of substances that qualify them for driving under the influence, drivers who are impaired due to alcohol consumption, prescription medication, or marijuana use are commonly at issue in DUI accidents.
Driving under the influence in Arizona is a crime in and of itself. However, when an intoxicated driver and people who cause an accident are injured or killed, the severity of the charges increases, as do the potential punishments the perpetrator faces. Further, the DUI driver may face civil liability to the victim or their surviving beneficiaries. Read our DUI FAQS to know more.
As defined by the Arizona Constitution, a victim “means a person against whom the offense has been committed or, if the person is killed or incapacitated, the person’s spouse, parent, child or another lawful representative, except if the person is in custody for an offense or is the accused.” (Arizona Constitution Article II Section 2.1(C).) A DUI is statutorily defined as a criminal act, therefore, individuals harmed as the result of another party driving under the influence are victims of a crime.
The victim of a DUI can be any individual who is harmed by the intoxicated or impaired individual while they are operating or in physical control of a motor vehicle and may include individuals such as:
In the event that a victim dies as a result of the accident, then the deceased’s spouse, parent, child, or another lawful representative may assume the role of victim and is afforded the same victims’ as the deceased would have been granted had they survived. Read our DUI FAQS to know more about your rights.
Arizona DUI Victim’s have legal rights as guaranteed by Article II Section 2.1 of the Arizona Constitution. In addition, the Arizona legislature has codified crime victims’ rights in Arizona Revised Statute Title 13 Chapter 40.
As stated in the Arizona Constitution, a victim has the right:
Being the victim of a DUI accident can be devastating physically, emotionally, and financially. As the victim of a DUI accident you may wonder how to proceed to ensure that the intoxicated driver is held liable for their wrongful behavior, and how you, or a loved one, can be properly compensated for the resulting harm. If you were the victim of a DUI accident there are some steps you can take to help ensure your rights are not violated. You can also read ou DUI FAQS to know more.
After you have been treated for your injuries and as soon as you are well enough, it is important to contact the police department and get a copy of the accident report. This will allow you to review the facts surrounding the accident and make changes if any information is inaccurate. Having an accurate police report can help in establishing consistent factual accounts in a civil trial.
In addition, It is crucial that the victim keep accurate records of expenses incurred as a result of the accident. Expenses can include things such as:
Further, it is important to keep records of how the accident has affected your daily life in terms of accomplishing routine tasks, work, and how you interact with peers, friends, and loved ones.
It is prudent to contact an attorney to help you through this difficult time. An attorney will not only help you to determine what viable legal claims you may have against the intoxicated, or impaired driver, but can also do things like help ensure your privacy. An attorney can also serve as an intermediary so you will not be harassed by the perpetrator. This can especially be the case in instances when the perpetrator sues the victim, a tactic some perpetrators use to intimidate the victim in an effort to get them to drop their civil suits. The most common legal claim a perpetrator will use to sue a victim is slander or libel. Victims should know that truth is an absolute defense to these claims.
There are numerous parties who may held liable to the victim of a DUI. These parties include the individual who was operating the motor vehicle or was in physical control of the motor vehicle at the time of the, and, under what is known as the Dram Shop Laws, a licensee that serves or sells alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person or a minor, or a social host who serves alcohol to a minor.
Dram shop liability refers to the laws governing the liability of commercial establishments that serve alcoholic beverages. The purpose of dram shop liability laws is to extend personal injury and wrongful death responsibility to the dram shops that serve alcoholic beverages to inebriated individuals and minors, who then go on to cause an accident involving a third party. Put another way, you cannot over-serve or sell to someone and then claim you had nothing to do with them causing an auto collision.
These laws permit a person injured by an intoxicated person to seek compensation for her injuries from not only the intoxicated person but the social host or vendor who provided the already-intoxicated person alcohol.
Dram shop liability does not extend to Indian reservations or casinos on those reservations. In Filer v. Tohono O’Odham Nation Gaming, the Arizona Court of Appeals held that because Indian reservations are a sovereign nation, casinos on their land cannot be held liable for civil actions unless they expressly waive their sovereign immunity. This means that an individual who is injured as the result of an intoxicated driver who became intoxicated as a result of being served, or buying alcohol at a casino does not have recourse against the casino because they are operated by the Indian nation on whose land they sit.
Driving under the influence of marijuana has become increasingly common and is recognized as a drug that qualifies for a DUI in Arizona. While some may be under the misconception that marijuana does not affect their driving ability, or in some cases, believe that marijuana use actually makes them a better driver, these misguided beliefs are false.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that in 2016 drugs, both illegal and legal, other than alcohol, were a factor in 16% of all crashes for that year. Additionally, data for crashes in 2016 indicate that 38% of people involved in fatal accidents had marijuana in their system.
While some of those 38% may have had additional drugs in their system and, or alcohol, research suggests that with increased marijuana use, accidents rates have increased. As wide array of studies have shown, this is in part due to the fact that marijuana decreases cognitive function and a driver’s ability to track lanes, impairs motor skills, reduce a drivers ability to multitask, slows reaction time, and decreases coordination.
The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) was passed by voters in 2010.. While the AMMA broadly immunizes medical marijuana users from prosecution while using the drug as detailed in the Act, in the 2015 case of Dobson v. McClennen the Supreme Court of Arizona held that the AMMA does not immunize from prosecution a driver charged with a DUI resulting from marijuana use. The act states that it is illegal for any person to operate or be in control of a motor vehicle “[w]hile there is any drug defined in section A.R.S.§ 13-3401 or its metabolite in the person’s body.”
The court did say however that the AMMA provides an affirmative defense for the DUI driver using marijuana. It is the driver’s obligation to prove that the marijuana or its metabolite in their system was not enough to cause impairment.
In other words, if a driver hits you who is under the influence of marijuana, they still may be charged with a DUI. If the driver can prove that the marijuana in their system could not have caused impairment, then they may not be charged with a DUI. However, they can still be taken to civil court if they caused the accident.
One of the issues with the increased use of marijuana and determining how great a role it plays in accidents is that it is difficult to judge if a person was impaired at the time of the crash. Unlike alcohol, which can be measured in a person’s body to a great degree of accuracy at the time of an accident, there are yet to be developed accurate testing methods to determine if marijuana played a role in impairing a driver at the time of an accident.
Unlike alcohol which the body metabolizes, in a relatively short period of time, marijuana can stay in a users system for weeks or even sometimes a month or more after they use it. Ultimately, in civil cases, the question will be left to the jury to determine whether the driver was impaired in their driving ability and committed a DUI, and, or acted negligently.
A person convicted of driving under the influence for the first time…
If a person is convicted of driving under the influence for a second time within 84 months of the first conviction (or under certain other circumstances), the person…
“Extreme” DUI is the condition of having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more (i.e., about twice the legal limit or higher) within two hours of driving or being in control of a vehicle.
A person who commits extreme DUI…
A driver who has a second extreme DUI conviction within 84 months of the first one…
In a criminal action, the intoxicated driver will be prosecuted by a state appointed attorney whose aim is to punish the perpetrator on behalf of a perceived wrong committed against the state and community at large. While a case is undertaken by the state, it does not mean that the victim/survivor, or surviving family members cannot be involved in the criminal case and that they do not have rights. (See the Victims’ Rights Section above.)
If convicted, the perpetrator may face fines and, or jail time. The degree to which the perpetrator is punished will depend on numerous factors that may include things, such as:
The charges against the defendant in a DUI case will be discretionary for the prosecuting attorney and may depend upon things like whether the victims in the DUI case were injured or killed, and whether the defendant has any prior convictions. In the event that the victims of the DUI survived the accident, the charges may be lesser and can include aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a class 3 dangerous felony. In the event that a victim dies as a result of the accident, the prosecutor may charge the intoxicated, or impaired driver with manslaughter, a class 2 dangerous felony.
Significantly, it is crucial to understand that the defendant will be charged for a separate criminal offense for each victim they harm. For example, if the defendant caused a crash resulting in two people being injured, and one person being killed, the defendant will face separate charges for each victim. Such that the defendant may be charged with two counts of aggravated assault and one count of manslaughter. If convicted, this means that the defendant will face separate punishment for each conviction, but which punishment, if including jail time will generally run consecutively.
In addition to a criminal prosecution and penalties, an intoxicated or impaired driver may face a civil lawsuit, which the victim of the DUI files, or the victim’s surviving beneficiaries if the victim dies due to the accident.
In a civil lawsuit, the victim of a DUI accident has the right to sue the intoxicated driver for any harm they suffered as a result of the accident. Additionally, in cases where the victim of the DUI accident does not survive, a lawsuit may be filed by certain individuals surviving the victim. This legal action is referred to as a wrongful death action. A victim/survivor, or their surviving family members, may try to represent themselves in a civil action against the perpetrator, however, because of the great complexity of lawsuits it is strongly advisable that they hire a private attorney to represent them in their case against the perpetrator. This will not only allow the victim/survivor, or their surviving family, to focus on healing, but also will help ensure that they are fairly compensated and not bullied by adverse parties.
There are a variety of potential civil law claims under which the surviving victim of a DUI can sue the intoxicated or impaired driver. Some of the most common include negligence and negligence per se. In addition, if the victim of a DUI accident does dies as a result of the crash, then certain surviving individuals may have a wrongful death claim against an impaired driver. For more on wrongful death lawsuits, visit Phoenix Accident and Injury Law Firm’s web pages addressing Wrongful Death.
In order to prove negligence, four elements must be met. First, it must be established that the defendant had a duty to adhere to a certain standard of care. Second, it must be shown that the defendant breached that standard of care. Third, a causal connection must be made between the defendant’s beach of the standard of care and the resulting injury. Fourth, the victim must have suffered actual damages. Whether a duty exists is a matter of law, while whether a breach of the duty occurred that caused injury and real damages are questions for the jury to decide.
The question of duty is whether the relationship between the parties is such that the wrongdoer was under some obligation to the victim to use reasonable care to prevent or avoid harming the victim.
In general, it is well established that an individual operating a car or motor vehicle has a duty to others to operate the vehicle in such a way as to prevent foreseeable harm to others. In a DUI case then, the question will be for the jury to decide if the driver breached the duty, did the breach of the duty cause the accident, at least in part, and to what extent did the victim suffer damages.
If the jury finds that the intoxicated driver was negligent thereby causing an accident and harming the victim, it will be for the jury to decide what amount of money to award the victim to compensate them for their resulting damages.
The surviving victim of a DUI accident may be able to recover compensation for things such as:
If the victim of the crash does not survive, certain surviving family members, known as statutory beneficiaries, may file an action against the intoxicated driver in what is known as a wrongful death lawsuit. Types of compensation that may be available to the deceased’s statutory beneficiaries include:
The amount of compensation the victim of a DUI, or their surviving family, may recover will vary depending upon the circumstances of each case. Below of some examples of compensation in Arizona cases.
In Gehres v. City of Phoenix, the victim of the DUI accident, Violet Gehres, died when her vehicle was hit by the perpetrator Lawrence Speck, who also died in the accident and had a blood alcohol level of .27% at the time of the accident. The victim’s surviving daughter and husband brought a wrongful death lawsuit against the estate of Lawrence Speck, Vinnie’s, an establishment where Speck became intoxicated, and the City of Phoenix, whose police officers were pursuing Speck when he crashed into Violet’s car, killing her. The jury found all three defendants liable and awarded the surviving husband and daughter a combined amount of $577,600.
Note that this case went to trial before joint and several liability was abolished so all defendants were technically responsible for paying the judgment. This was the issue on appeal, but the court upheld a verdict for the plaintiffs, since it could not apply the several liability law retroactively. (Gehres v. City of Phoenix, 156 Ariz. 484, 753 P.2d 174 (Ariz. App., 1987).)
Essson v. La Puesta Del Sol Party Facility and AYOUB (2004)
In the 2004 case of Essson v. La Puesta Del Sol Party Facility and AYOUB, the jury awarded the plaintiff a total of $2.6 million, assessing liability to La Puesta in the amount of $2.1 million, to AYOUB in the amount of $500,000. In this case, the victim was a passenger of AYOUB who was driving while intoxicated, after consuming alcohol at event hosted by La Puesta. The victim was killed in a car accident so the lawsuit was filed by his mother, who was awarded the judgment.
Shalley v. A & M Beverages dba Mecca Lounge, McConaha, and Sainsevain (2004)
In the case of Shalley v. A & M Beverages, dba Mecca Lounge, McConaha, and Sainsevain, the plaintiff was hit while stopped at a red light by defendant Sainsevain after Sainsevain had just left Mecca Lounge. The plaintiff alleged that Mecca Lounge continued to serve alcohol to defendant Sainsevain after she was obviously intoxicated, her blood alcohol level was .315 at the time of the accident. The jury relieved Mecca Lounge of liability, finding the defendant Sainsevain was 100% at fault for the accident, and awarding plaintiff a total of $400,000, breaking down to $200,000 in compensatory damages and $200,000 in punitive damages.
It depends on how much you are awarded in the criminal trial, and various other circumstances for your case. Some guidelines are that you should file if insurance plus your award in the trial is not enough to cover your property damage, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You may also want to file a lawsuit if either insurance company is wrongfully denying your claim or the drunk driver who hit you was uninsured. This is a complex question with no easy answer. Give us a call, and we will help you determine whether a lawsuit is appropriate in your specific case.
The aftermath of being hit by a drunk driver in a DUI accident is far-reaching and different for every person. Physically, you may be injured and need to take off work to rehabilitate. This affects your family as well- whether someone moves from another state to care for you in the short term or you lose the ability to bring home wages to feed your family. Financially, you may be struggling because of unexpected medical bills and time off work. Or, you may lose other concrete benefits from your job to use in the future, like an allotment of sick days or vacation time which are instead used for recovery and doctor’s visits.
Mentally, you may suffer from increased anxiety, depression, paranoia, or sometimes even PTSD. Emotionally, you may be experiencing grief- either for a lost loved one if they were killed in a DUI crash or for your own injuries. You may not be able to sleep very well, or get panic attacks when you get behind the wheel of a car. In a DUI crash, decisions made in a split second can have far-reaching consequences with a life-long impact.
Let’s talk about this in terms of beer. Everyone’s tolerance is different, but generally speaking, 2 beers puts you at a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.04- half the legal limit. Let’s say you have 2 more beers to put your BAC at 0.08 (the legal limit). At this point, a driver is 11 times more likely to get into a crash than a person not driving under the influence.
Let’s have 2 more beers- a 6 pack. Your BAC is now at least 0.10, and you are 48 times more likely to crash than someone who hasn’t drank.
You’ve had a 6 pack already- say you have 2 more beers. Your BAC is now approximately 0.15, you are 380 times more likely to have an accident than someone not driving under the influence, and if you drive you are committing extreme DUI.
Arizona is a no tolerance, or 0 tolerance, state for DUI offenses. This means that you can be arrested for having a BAC of less than 0.08, particularly if you are driving recklessly.
Of the 129,750 car crashes in Arizona in 2019, 4,907 of them were drunk driving accidents, which accounts for nearly 4%. Of those, 85% occurred in Maricopa County.
Aggravated DUI occurs when a person…
A person convicted of aggravated DUI…
Arizona has some of the toughest DUI laws in the country, and they apply equally to driving while impaired by prescription medication. In 2014, residents of the Phoenix area got reminded of the dangers of driving under the influence of prescription medication when a heavily medicated truck driver caused a fatal accident that took the life of one and injured five others.
While the list of individual prescription medications that affect driving is far too long and complex to put here, there are several categories of drugs that make driving dangerous. Always ask your doctor about any potential side effects, and whether it’s safe to drive when taking your individual medication. It’s also important to note that some over the counter medications may affect your ability to drive as well.
The categories of prescriptions that can impact your ability to drive safely are antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, anxiety medication, pain relievers, muscle relaxants, sleeping pills, some antihistamines, some CBD medications, some cold medications, stimulants, and diet pills.
You should contact your own insurance company. You may have medical payments insurance or other coverage that can help you.
Additionally, the police will try to find the hit-and-run driver. One of the main ways they do this is through red light cameras. While they are originally designed to catch red-light runners, red light cameras also help in hit-and-run cases. Because we are local to the East Valley, we know where the cameras are, and can help you figure out next steps.
Check out our red light camera maps on any of our location pages.
The short answer is Yes. While the longer answer is difficult to explain, feel free to call us for more information about including your relative’s compensation.
According to the CDC, in 2016, more than 1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs. That is around 1% of the 111 million cases of adults reporting themselves for driving under the influence in anonymous reports. That year, drugs other than alcohol were involved in about 16% of car accidents. That figure includes both legal drugs, like prescription medication and marijuana in Arizona (and other states), and illegal drugs like cocaine, heroine, or LSD.
It is estimated that around 13% of drivers on weeknights and weekends have marijuana in their system, with that number being slightly higher in states that have legalized recreational use. The CDC also states that marijuana users (who are driving while high) are about 25% more likely to get into a car accident than non-marijuana users, although other factors may increase or decrease that risk.
Many drugs can impair driving, including over the counter drugs, prescription medication, recreational drugs, and illegal drugs, and the list is far to long to include in this article. If you are taking prescription medication, check with your doctor to see if it is safe for you to drive.
Prescription medication can impair driving in many ways. Some prescription drugs may impair your judgement or induce nausea or drowsiness. Others can lessen your coordination ability. Even more have common side affects of dizziness, shakiness, or an irregular heartbeat.
Stronger prescription medication, like opioids, sedatives, muscle relaxants, and antidepressants have also been associated with a higher crash risk. To make it even more confusing, some prescription medication is perfectly fine to drive with when taken on its own, but if it’s taken in conjunction with other medication, drugs, or alcohol becomes an increased crash risk.
In order to help you find the information you need, we’ve compiled a list of some of our most frequently asked questions. Either click on the question or DUI FAQS to read the article, or read on in this article to learn about the laws behind DUI.
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. 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 our DUI FAQS can help you or contact Phoenix Accident and Injury Law Firm in nearby Chandler, AZ to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. We provide personal injury legal services to clients in your area including Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe, and Peoria.