People who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs pose one of the most significant dangers on the road today. Not only can impaired drivers cause auto accidents, but these accidents are likely to cause serious injury or death. The Michigan Department of State Police reports that 43.5 percent of wrecks that lead to fatalities involve alcohol and/or drugs. If you or someone you love is in an accident with a drunk driver, you need a Michigan personal injury attorney on your side.
When drunk drivers hurt or kill someone with their actions, the affected people want to see justice. Justice can come in two ways: criminal court and civil lawsuits. While some drunk drivers only face the consequences through one of those routes, others may be defendants in both types of court.
Michigan law determines if someone is too drunk to drive based on the person’s bodily alcohol content (BAC) at the time of the incident. For people under the age of 21, the limit is 0.02 BAC. When a person reaches the legal drinking age of 21, he or she may not lawfully drive a vehicle with a BAC above 0.08. Finally, Michigan gives additional penalties for people who drive with BAC above 0.17.
If law enforcement officers suspect someone of exceeding these maximums while driving, they may request a breathalyzer test. This may happen during a traffic stop or after an accident. If someone is found to have surpassed the maximum BAC, the state may choose to press charges.
Drunk drivers face some charges for Operating While Intoxicated (OWI), even if no accident happens or if nobody is injured in the accident. The consequences vary depending on the person’s record and BAC. They may face additional criminal charges if someone is injured or killed in an accident they caused. These charges come with penalties of up to 5 years in prison for serious injury or 15 years for death. The victims do not bring about the criminal charges in these cases – the state does. However, victims may be asked to testify or provide evidence.
Although victims may feel a sense of justice when a drunk driver is put behind bars or faces other criminal consequences, these penalties do not make up for the pain and suffering they endure. While nothing can take away the victim’s pain, a civil lawsuit can help victims recoup expenses.
A Michigan personal attorney lawyer can help you get the money you deserve. The process can be lengthy, however, and you may need money to pay medical expenses right away. Your insurance company can help. Because Michigan is a no-fault insurance state, your policy should help even when you are not to blame. If your insurance company makes it difficult to get the money you need, your lawyer may be able to help.
If you’re up against a drunk driver and their insurance company, you need someone on your side. A Michigan personal injury attorney can fight for you to get the compensation you deserve after such a horrific incident. Contact Nickola Law today to set up a free consultation.
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