Are Drunk Drivers Always at Fault in an Accident?

Drunk driving is the cause of 40% of accidents involving fatalities. Are drunk drivers always at fault in these accidents? Are drunk drivers always arrested on DUI charges?

The answer might come as a surprise.

Here is everything you need to know about who is at fault in drunk driving cases.

What Happens if You Get in an Accident While Drunk?

Not only is driving while under the influence very dangerous, but it is also against the law. Always be responsible if you are planning to drink.

Make a promise to yourself that you will not drive once you start using drugs or alcohol. Give your keys to someone responsible.

Don’t get behind the wheel. If you get into an accident while intoxicated, it’s inevitable that you will be facing DUI charges.

According to the Illinois Department of Human Services, there is a process to be followed after an arrest in order for the charges to stick. The purpose of the process is to check how extensive the driver’s alcohol/drug activity is and how it affected others/may in the future.

Out of the 112 million drunk drivers each year, only 1.4 million of them face DUI arrests. The odds might be in your favor. This does NOT mean you should drink and drive.

DUI Penalties

Driving under the influence may face criminal charges that vary from fines to license suspension, even jail time. The Illinois State Police outlines the specific DUI penalties for the state of Illinois.

First DUI Conviction

The first DUI charge is more lenient than subsequent charges. The first set of consequences for a DUI could be:

  • Up to $2,500 in fines
  • Possible 1 year in jail
  • Possible1-year revocation of driving privileges

It’s important to learn from your mistakes so that you don’t find yourself in this situation more than once.

Second DUI Conviction

Each additional DUI conviction has more severe ramifications. The consequences for a second DUI conviction are:

  • Up to $2,500 in fines
  • Mandatory 240 hours community service or 5 days of jail
  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • Possible 5-year revocation of driving privileges

If you happen to find yourself in a situation where you are facing another DUI conviction, the consequences are going to be more severe. 

Third DUI Conviction

If you haven’t learned from your mistakes after two rounds of DUIs, here is what you’re initially facing with the third:

  • Up to $25,000 in fines
  • Possible periodic jail time spanning 18-30 months
  • Up to 7 years in jail
  • Possible 10-year revocation of driving privileges

A third DUI conviction is classified as a Class 2 felony.

Aggravated DUI

One way a DUI conviction is considered an aggravated DUI is when a car crash results in the bodily harm of other people. This type of DUI is classified as a Class 4 felony.

The consequences of an aggravated DUI are:

  • Up to $25,000 in fines
  • Mandatory 480 hours of community service or 10 days in jail
  • Up to 12 years in jail
  • Possible 1-year revocation of driving privileges

At the Law Offices of John M. Quinn & Associates, Ltd., we will do whatever we can to have your IL driver’s license reinstated when you get a DUI.

Losing your license can impact your quality of life, and we can help get you back on your feet. Having a restricted driving permit is going to keep you in a somewhat normal routine, from getting the kids to and from school, to still being able to make it to work.

Are Drunk Drivers Always at Fault?

The short answer is no. A DUI charge doesn’t automatically make you at fault in a car accident. The driver needs to be driving drunk and partaking in negligent driving behaviors in order to be at fault.

If a drunk driver causes an accident by driving through a red light and hitting someone, then they would be at fault. If a drunk driver causes an accident by driving in the wrong direction on a one-way road, then they are at fault.

If someone drives through a stop sign and gets hit by a drunk driver, the person that drove through the stop sign will still hold some of the liability. The drunk driver will not be fully at fault for the accident.

The determination of fault must be found by a court during a personal injury claim to stick.

Illinois is an At-Fault State

Illinois is an at-fault state and follows a tort liability system. This means that drivers who caused an accident are held accountable for anything that comes up as a result. 

If you are found to be the cause of the accident, then you will be responsible for paying for damages.

People v. Way

In 2012, Ida Way was charged with an aggravated DUI when she caused serious injury to 2 people after crashing into them while driving under the influence. The urine drug test that Way consented to was positive for cannabis, which was illegal in Illinois at the time.

She was later able to provide documentation that she had a medical condition that may have caused her to lose consciousness behind the wheel. This wasn’t enough to prove that it was the medical condition over the drug use that caused the DUI car crash.

In order to be an aggravated DUI, the driver has to cause bodily harm to the victim while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The state of Illinois was not required to prove anything beyond the serious bodily injury to the people in the other vehicle.

Get Your Life Back on Track

So, are drunk drivers always at fault? Typically, these situations aren’t as cut and dry as that. 

If you are in this position, you aren’t alone. We can help you get your life back on track.

Contact the Law Offices of John M. Quinn & Associates, Ltd. today to get started.

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