Whenever a person gets behind the wheel drunk, there’s a chance they’ll cause a serious accident—and that one decision can ruin lives. And, despite ever-stiffer DUI penalties, drunk driving accidents remain common in Jonesboro. Many DUI accidents will claim a life, and many others will leave the victim with severe, lifelong pain and injuries. If you or your loved one were involved in an accident with a drunk driver, you are not alone—and you DO have legal options. You need to enforce your rights from the start. It’s worth your time to talk to a Jonesboro drunk driving accident lawyer.
John Foy & Associates can help you. We have spent more than 20 years helping victims, winning cases, and fighting against drunk drivers and their insurance companies. We know that this kind of accident is as emotional as it is physically painful, and we side with the victims and their families, working hard to get you the financial recovery you deserve. Money can never undo an accident, but it can help you move forward without crippling medical debt. Let us give you a FREE consultation to get you started. Give us a call at (404) 400-4000 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.
How do I prove that the driver who hit me was drunk?
In many cases, the police will conclude that the driver is drunk immediately when they reach the scene. In other cases, they will require that the driver perform a breath test, or other chemical test, and find out that way. In most circumstances this evidence can also be used in your accident claim and can help prove that the driver was intoxicated—either from alcohol or from another substance.
However, we know firsthand that it helps your case if you are your own advocate. That means that if you suspect intoxication, there are steps you can take from the start, at the very scene of the accident:
- Use your phone to record the other driver’s behavior or slurred speech while you wait for police.
- Tell police you think the other driver is intoxicated. This may prompt them to perform a breath test immediately. (It’s okay if they can’t do this on the spot; the test will still be accurate even if they have to take the driver back to the station first.)
- Watch the other driver to make sure they don’t throw out anything or try to hide it—many will try to dispose of evidence.
- Talk to witnesses at the scene. If they also believe the driver is stumbling, slurring speech, or acting high or drunk, that will help later. Get their names and contact info.
If you didn’t take these steps, or had to go straight to the emergency room, do not worry. Part of your attorney’s job is to investigate your accident and establish evidence—even if time has elapsed. In general, the sooner you can talk to an attorney, the better.
I’m not sure if the driver was drunk or on some other substance. Does it matter?
Legally, even driving under the influence of cough syrup is a crime if it affects your driving. The City of Jonesboro follows Georgia state law, which defines DUI as driving under the influence of any substance that affects reaction time, coordination, or alertness. This is true whether the substance is legal or illegal.
Some of the most common substances we see involved in DUI accidents in Jonesboro include alcohol, marijuana, party drugs like ecstasy, and methamphetamine. You can recover money for your injuries regardless of what substance was used.
What if the drunk driver isn’t convicted? What if he takes a plea or gets off scott-free?
This is extremely disappointing, and you’re right to be outraged. But it doesn’t change your legal rights. Just because the driver wasn’t convicted of drunk driving doesn’t mean you can’t win your DUI accident claim.
It is true that a conviction helps your accident claim, but only indirectly. That’s because a criminal conviction virtually proves that the driver was intoxicated—and, by extension, that they were almost certainly at fault for the accident. It’s nice to have that proof going into your accident claim, but it’s not necessary.
But many DUI cases aren’t a black-and-white case of conviction or acquittal. Here’s what to expect based on different outcomes:
- Drunk driver is convicted in court of DUI: This serves as strong evidence in your accident claim, and helps you.
- Drunk driver accepts a guilty plea for DUI: This is just as good for you as a courtroom conviction. The driver has basically admitted they were drunk.
- Driver accepts a “plea deal” for some lesser crime: This is disappointing, and it may mean they get a less severe punishment. (Often, they will plead guilty to reckless driving instead of DUI.) But they are still admitting some kind of illegal activity that likely makes them at fault for the accident. And, your lawyer can still build a case that they were intoxicated even if that’s not what they were convicted for.
- Driver is found not guilty of DUI. This is exceedingly rare in a DUI case. If it does happen, it may mean we need to reconsider whether we can prove that the driver was drunk, and focus instead on proving they were at fault for the accident—which means you can still recover money.
- Driver is never charged with DUI at all: This is unusual but it happens. It may mean that police didn’t have enough evidence. That likely means it will be hard to gather evidence for your claim as well—at least for the intoxication part. But it’s still possible, and all you really have to prove is that the driver was at fault, intoxicated or not.
The short answer is: do not worry about whether the drunk driver’s criminal case. Your accident claim is a completely separate issue. The local courts give you the chance to recover money whether the driver was convicted or not.
Talk to a Jonesboro Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer for Free
DUI accident victims suffer serious losses—and some families lose a loved one altogether. No victim or their family should ever be denied the financial recovery that is their right under the law. Let us help you. John Foy & Associates charges you NOTHING if we don’t win you money—and we offer a FREE consultation. Call us at (404) 400-4000 or fill out the form to the right to schedule your free consultation today.