Do you want to be the cause of a senseless tragedy? Each year, countless lives are lost because people decide to drink or drug and drive. It’s an irresponsible act that recklessly endangers not only your life, but also those of innocent bystanders. Whether you’re a driver, passenger, or pedestrian, no one deserves to suffer the consequences of someone else’s unfortunate choices.
Consequences of Drinking and Driving
The consequences of drinking or drugging and driving are real and can be devastating. Not only is it illegal, but the risk of serious injury or death is greater when you combine alcohol or drugs with operating a vehicle. The effects of either substance can impair your judgment, reaction time, coordination, vision and other skills essential for safe driving.
Even if you manage to avoid an accident, a single conviction for DUI/DWI can lead to steep fines, suspended driver’s licenses, increased insurance premiums and even jail time. In addition to the legal ramifications of this action, there’s also the emotional impact that comes with knowing that you have greatly endangered yourself and others on the road.
If you plan to drink or take drugs, even prescription medication, make sure you plan a safe way home. Make a designated driver, take public transportation, or just stay at the location you’re at overnight; they are all much safer options than getting behind the wheel of a car impaired.
If you see someone else who is intoxicated and about to get into their vehicle, help them find an alternate solution for transportation to ensure they don’t put themselves and others in danger.
I Was a Victim of an Impaired Driving Accident: What Should I Do?
Attorney Geoff McDonald understands that being in a car accident can be frightening and traumatizing. “If you are a victim of an accident caused by impaired driving, first and foremost – make sure you are OK and get checked out by a doctor,” McDonald advises. “Call the police and file a report right at the scene.”
Take Photographs of the Accident Scene
Another step that should be taken right away at the scene of the accident caused by a drunk or drugged driver includes taking photographs of your car and the accident.
Submit a Claim After Calling an Attorney
“Submit a claim with your insurance company within 24 hours of the accident,” says McDonald. But be careful of the words you use when speaking with the insurance company. If you can contact a car accident attorney in your area before speaking with insurance, it can help you later on. “Before you give a statement to insurance, give us a call,” encourages McDonald.
Preventative Steps You Can Take to Avoid Driving Under the Influence
- In the event you find yourself at a party or celebration, or need to go somewhere but have had a few drinks or have taken medication, you have alternative choices.
Alternative Choices to Driving Under the Influence
- Ride-Sharing Services (Uber/Lyft): Utilize popular ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft. These platforms offer a convenient and reliable way to get home safely after consuming alcohol. Simply request a ride through the mobile apps, and a designated driver will pick you up and drop you off at your desired location.
- Traditional Taxis: Taxis are a tried and tested option for getting home safely. Look for a local taxi service in your area, and save their contact information in your phone for easy access.
- Public Transportation: Many cities have efficient public transportation systems, such as buses, trains, and subways. Check the schedules and routes ahead of time to plan your journey. Public transportation can be a cost-effective and reliable alternative to driving, especially if you’re in an urban area.
- Designated Driver: If you’re going out with a group of friends, consider designating one person to be the sober driver for the night. This responsible individual should abstain from drinking and be responsible for safely driving everyone home. Rotating the role among friends on different occasions ensures that everyone has a chance to enjoy the night without compromising safety.
- Stay Overnight: If you’re at a friend’s place or attending an event with overnight accommodations, consider spending the night. This option eliminates any concerns about getting home safely while intoxicated. Make arrangements in advance, inform the host, and bring any necessary overnight items.
Don’t gamble with life – don’t drink, drug and drive. The consequences are too high for yourself or someone else to pay. McDonald highlights the penalties he has seen in his experience as a personal injury attorney.
“Driving under the influence of any kind of mind-altering drug is illegal. If you’re caught, it can lead to: loss of license, job, freedom, or worse, loss of life. Designate a sober driver, use Uber or Lyft, call a friend or loved one. You may save a life.”
Consequences of Drinking or Taking Drugs then Driving
Penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) vary depending on the jurisdiction and the severity of the offense. DUI is considered a serious crime due to its potential to cause harm to oneself and others on the road. The consequences of DUI can be far-reaching, impacting not only the individual’s personal life but also their professional life and the lives of others involved.
Loss of Life:
One of the most devastating consequences of DUI is the potential loss of life. When a person drives under the influence, they significantly increase the risk of causing accidents that can result in severe injuries or fatalities, not only for themselves but also for innocent pedestrians, passengers, or occupants of other vehicles. In addition to the emotional and psychological toll, the driver responsible for the loss of life may face criminal charges, including vehicular manslaughter or homicide, leading to even more severe penalties.
When caught driving under the influence, individuals can face a range of legal consequences, which may include:
- License Suspension or Revocation: DUI offenses often result in the suspension or revocation of the driver’s license. The duration of the suspension typically varies based on factors such as previous DUI convictions and the severity of the offense.
- Fines: DUI convictions usually entail significant fines. The amount of the fine depends on various factors, including the number of prior offenses and the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level at the time of arrest.
- Probation: Some DUI offenders may be placed on probation, requiring them to adhere to specific conditions set by the court. These conditions may include mandatory alcohol education programs, random drug and alcohol testing, or regular meetings with a probation officer.
- Mandatory Alcohol Education or Treatment Programs: DUI offenders may be required to attend alcohol education or treatment programs to address their substance abuse issues. These programs aim to prevent future instances of DUI and promote responsible driving behavior.
- Ignition Interlock Device (IID): In certain cases, a court may order the installation of an IID in the offender’s vehicle. This device measures the driver’s BAC and prevents the car from starting if alcohol is detected.
Loss of Employment:
DUI convictions can have a profound impact on an individual’s professional life. Some of the employment-related consequences may include the following.
- Termination or Suspension: Many employers have strict policies regarding DUI convictions, especially for jobs that involve driving or operating machinery. Individuals convicted of DUI may face termination or suspension from their current job.
- Difficulty Finding Employment: A DUI conviction can make it challenging to secure future employment, particularly in occupations that require a clean driving record or involve positions of trust. Employers may view a DUI conviction as a sign of irresponsibility or a potential risk to their business.
- Professional Licensing Issues: Certain professions, such as commercial driving or healthcare, require specific licenses. A DUI conviction could lead to the suspension or revocation of these licenses, affecting an individual’s ability to continue working in their chosen field.
Contact a DUI Accident Attorney in Virginia
If you suffer DUI accident injuries, contact our DUI accident attorneys at Geoff McDonald & Associates. We can review your accident report and other evidence to help you build your case. Call us at (804) 203-0678 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with an attorney at our offices in Richmond or Virginia Beach, VA.