Challenging a Maryland DUI with Property Damage or a Personal Injury
While the ensuing chaos of a car accident could be a distressing ordeal, the added task of dealing with a police investigation may leave them overwhelmed. A person could inadvertently implicate themselves in an investigation if they are distracted or unaware of how to protect themselves legally. A Maryland DUI lawyer could help you in challenging a Maryland DUI with property damage or a personal injury. Speak to a knowledgeable attorney to begin building your defense.
How a Crash Investigation Could Transition Into a Criminal DUI Case
A crash investigation could transition a DUI into a criminal investigation when the police are called to the scene. Authorities are typically called to accident scene when someone is seriously injured and if they want a police report. The police may very well arrive with a body camera and take a recorded statement, but when the officer gets there, they typically try to speak to the individuals at the scene.
Officers may be looking to establish:
- Who the drivers are
- Whether or not they are they insured
- How much damage is involved
- Whether or not anyone hurt
Police officers may wish to get close to people and speak to them in order to get information. They may see someone talking to them and notice an odor of alcohol, or that the person is acting odd, and they may ask the person if they had anything to drink. The drivers may at times be honest and say that they had a drink a few hours ago. Things may progress from there.
While the officer might not have seen the accident occur, they could further their own investigation by putting the person through the standard field sobriety test and asking for a breath score. There are a number of things that officers could assess that might allow them to transition a crash investigation into a DUI investigation.
Tests an Officer Could Conduct to Detect the Presence of Alcohol
When officers arrive at the scene of an accident, they typically conduct a preliminary investigation to detect the presence of alcohol in an individual who has been injured in an accident. They may have further questions for an individual they believe might be impaired or under the influence. Officers could ask them, or any passenger’s in their vehicle, the same standard questions they would ask when they pulled the person over, which may include:
- If the person has had anything to drink this evening?
- When did they have the drink?
- Where was the person coming from?
- Where are they going to?
- Would they like to submit to a field test?
- Do they have any injuries?
Officer could try to establish that they have reasonable grounds and a good even playing field for an investigation even if there was an accident where they could do those field tests. Unless a person is transported away by EMT, they may try and get the person to do the field sobriety test.
The test might be done through general observation of a person’s odor, how they act, and what the officers observed from the person. If there is something in the vehicle like an open beverage container, the police may collect this as evidence against the driver. An attorney could help a person by challenging a Maryland DUI with property damage or a personal injury.
A person’s statements might not be protected if they are freely given. If a person is having a conversation with an officer, understanding that they are police officers, anything they say could be put in a police report.
What Aspects of a Criminal DUI Case Could be Used in a Civil Case?
In a civil case, a lack of insurance may be used against the person. It is recommended that everyone driving on the road have insurance because accidents happen. Even if a person believed they were good enough to drive they may be personally liable for a large sum of money if an accident occurred and they are uninsured. The liability could increase if somebody is severely injured.
A person could file a civil case for damages and injuries. If it is just the vehicle that is damaged, the insurance companies could take care of it. If someone was injured, they could sue the liable party for monetary losses caused by medical bills and pain and suffering. In such a scenario, there is a reasonable dollar amount that may be assessed by a judge or a jury depending on the severity of the injuries. Whether a person is convicted of the DUI or not, a person could still sue the liable party because their insurance company did not settle. While challenging a Maryland DUI with property damage or a personal injury, a lawyer could help an accused person with either civil or criminal cases.
Steps an Attorney Could Take if a Civil Claim Might be Filed Against a Person
If a civil claim might be filed against a person, a lawyer might not be as concerned. There may be nothing more important for a lawyer than keeping the person they represent from going to jail or minimizing it as close to the number zero. If that means that the insurance company settles or the person has to put some money out of pocket then so be it. Challenging a Maryland DUI with property damage or a personal injury case could be difficult without legal counsel. Speak to a Maryland DUI lawyer to build your defense.