Accident Law » Crash Course: What Happens if You Crash Your Car While Drunk?

Crash Course: What Happens if You Crash Your Car While Drunk?

Were you in a car accident? Were you under the influence while driving? If you crash your car while drunk, you’re likely to find yourself in a world of legal issues.

Depending on what state you reside in and what you hit, you could find yourself receiving hefty fines, losing your license, or even going to prison.

This is the crash course on car accidents and their penalties. Let’s begin.

Car Crash Course

Let’s begin with a quick crash course on car crashes. There are four realistic situations when it comes to getting into an accident.

  • Hitting another vehicle
  • Hitting a stationary object
  • Hitting an animal
  • Hitting a pedestrian

The consequences for each vary quite a bit. For example, hitting another vehicle can result in a fender-bender and your insurance rates going up. Or it could come as a result of your driving under the influence, and killing someone.

That’s where the consequences get really severe. But we’re jumping ahead. Let’s work our way up to the most serious of charges.

Fines and Fees

Fines and penalties for minor accidents vary from state to state. They’ll further vary based on how often you’ve been cited in an accident. The first time it may be $100, the second can be far higher.

As well, many states operate on a ‘points’ system. Driving recklessly, causing an accident, and getting caught driving while under the influence all can result in points on your license.

This isn’t a video game, though. The more points you accrue, the higher your fines and eventually you’ll run the risk of losing your license.

Crash Your Car While Drunk: Lose Your License

In many states, driving with a BAC (blood alcohol content) over .08 can result in an immediate license suspension on top of hefty fines. In Utah that BAC can’t be above .05.

Often for a first offense, you’ll receive a license suspension on top of those pesky fines mentioned earlier. Suspensions can range from one month to one full year, even if your driving didn’t result in an accident.

Crashing into a stationary object can increase those penalties, including having to pay for property damages. Multiple incidents can result in the permanent revocation of your license.

And crashing into another vehicle or pedestrian can result in serious criminal charges. You’ll need a drunk driving accident attorney, in this case, to help mitigate fines and hopefully disprove you were at fault in the accident.

This may come as a surprise, but the driver under the influence who gets into an accident isn’t inherently at fault for all accidents.

Criminal Prosecution and Jail Time

Despite the possibility of a driver under the influence not causing an accident they were a part of, it’s a sobering statistic that alcohol is involved in 40% of traffic deaths.

If you’re proven to have been under the influence and killed someone, serious criminal charges get brought into play. The most plausible is the felony crime of vehicular manslaughter.

Penalties vary from state to state. But expect jail time, anywhere from 3-10 years, on top of several fines, and license suspension or revocation.

Hire an Attorney; Don’t Drive Drunk

If you crash your car while drunk, evaluate what the charges faced against you are. If it’s a simple fee, you should likely pay it and not drive drunk again (as second offenses ramp up significantly).

If, however, you get into car accidents that result in harming someone or their property, you should invest in an accident attorney. They can help mitigate penalties or even prove your innocence.

Check out our related blog posts for more on legal processes and how having an attorney can save you and your assets.

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