Tips for Dealing with a Drunk Driver After a Car Accident in Newport Beach, CA

Being involved in a serious car accident can be terrifying. If one of the drivers acts intoxicated, that can make the situation even more challenging. An intoxicated person may act irrationally or be uncooperative. You may not know how to handle an intoxicated driver at the accident scene.

You should be cautious around a driver who seems intoxicated. Trying to persuade a drunk driver to exchange licenses may be impossible. Don’t try to argue with a driver who is acting drunk. Call 911 for help and report your concerns about the driver’s behavior. The police have the training to deal with drunk drivers. Understanding how to deal with a drunk driver at the scene of an accident can help keep you safe.

At Sam & Ash, LLP, we want to provide accident victims with information to help them manage accident situations and stay safe. We want What’s Right for you. An experienced Newport Beach drunk driving accident attorney can review your car accident case and walk you through the steps of the injury claims process.

Contact Sam & Ash, LLC to set up a free case evaluation. Our personal injury attorneys are available 24 hours a day to help you handle the aftermath of a serious drunk driving accident.

California’s Drunk Driving Laws

California has laws prohibiting driving while intoxicated. In most cases, determining intoxication means measuring a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). According to state law, it is illegal for someone to drive a vehicle with a BAC of .08 percent or higher. Drunk drivers can face legal consequences and civil penalties.

California is a zero-tolerance state. Anyone under the age of 21 caught with a BAC of .01 percent can potentially have their license suspended for one year.

The penalties for a DUI conviction are:

1st Offense

  • Fines between $390 and $1,000
  • Jail time up to six months maximum

2nd Offense

  • Fines between $390 and $1,000
  • Jail time from 96 hours to one year

3rd Offense

  • Fines up to $1,800
  • Jail time from 120 days to one year

Drivers also face having their license suspended from six months to three years, depending on how many previous offenses are on their record. There is the potential for drivers to face felony DUI charges if they cause serious injuries or death in a car accident.

Drivers who are not over the legal limit may still be held accountable for their actions if they are impaired by drugs or alcohol.

In addition to facing criminal prosecution, a drunk driver may have civil liability to people who were injured in the accident. An accident victim may file a personal injury lawsuit seeking compensation for injuries and losses related to the accident. Talk to a skilled drunk driving car accident attorney about how to hold the drunk driver accountable for your injuries.

Drunk Driving Accident Statistics in California

drunk driving in California

In a recent year, the California Highway Patrol recorded 1,167 fatal alcohol-involved collisions in the state. The same year, there were 18,569 injury accidents involving an intoxicated driver. In Orange County, specifically, there were 39 fatal DUI accidents and 1,015 DUI crashes involving injuries that year.

According to data collected by the University of California, Berkley, almost half of all alcohol-related accidents involving severe injuries or deaths occur between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. You are more likely to encounter intoxicated drivers late at night. More than half of alcohol-impaired collisions happen in urban areas.

How Should You Deal with a Drunk Driver Following a Car Accident?

Dealing with a drunk driver following a crash can be frightening. You do not know the driver’s mental state. People react to intense situations differently, especially when under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

For your safety, get to a safe location and immediately call the authorities. The emergency dispatcher will guide you. When law enforcement officers arrive at the scene, they can manage the crash site and determine whether the other driver is intoxicated.

You should know that California has implied consent laws in place. Implied consent means that all motorists must submit to a blood or breath test to determine their BAC if requested by police. If an individual refuses, they can have their license suspended.

You may suspect that a driver is intoxicated by the way they drive or act. It’s important to have the authorities determine whether a driver is legally intoxicated. Police will administer a blood alcohol test if they suspect a driver is intoxicated. The authorities will also dispatch emergency services to render aid to those injured in the collision.

If it is safe to do so, collect as much evidence as possible at the accident scene. Take pictures of the crash, the damage to each vehicle, and collect the contact information of any potential witnesses. You may want to photograph the other driver’s license plate in case they attempt to drive away before law enforcement arrives.

In most situations, you will exchange information with the other driver. However, if the drunk driver is displaying signs of agitation or aggression, let law enforcement communicate with the driver. It is not always safe to engage with drunk individuals, especially after a collision. The other driver could attempt to assault you or become agitated and attempt to flee the scene.

If the other driver does leave the crash scene, do not follow them. Stay at the crash site and wait for the authorities to arrive. If you are still on the phone with dispatch, let them know the driver is fleeing and which direction the driver is headed.

Finally, contact an experienced Newport Beach drunk driving accident attorney as soon as possible. An experienced personal injury attorney can investigate the crash and gather evidence to support your claim.

Contact Our Newport Beach Car Accident Lawyers

At Sam & Ash, LLP, we always want What’s Right for you. After an accident caused by a drunk driver, you may be traumatized and have questions about what comes next. We’re here to answer your questions and help you hold the drunk driver accountable. We’ll work to pursue meaningful compensation for your injuries and accident-related expenses.

Contact our Newport Beach office today to talk to an experienced drunk driving accident attorney about your case. We offer a free consultation and will never charge you a single penny until we win.