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Was Your New Year’s Eve Ruined by a DUI?

If you were involved in a DUI-related accident on New Year’s Eve, you’ll want to know what you can do. Below we discuss the three D’s of driving safety: Drugs/Drinking, Distraction, and Drowsiness and what to do if you need legal assistance following your car accident.

Was Your New Year’s Eve Ruined by a DUI?

According to Banner Health, every day, almost 30 people in the U.S. die as the result of a motor vehicle accident that involves an alcohol-impaired driver. This equates to one death every 51 minutes. During holidays like New Year’s Eve, it’s not uncommon for people to get together, open a few cans of beer, and celebrate. But things can turn deadly if after those few beers one of your party goers decides to get behind the wheel of a car.

Driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated, is defined as: operating a means of conveyance (a motor vehicle) while excessive amounts of alcohol, or any kind of controlled substance, are present in the body.

Under Arizona law:

“It is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle in this state under any of the following circumstances:

1. While under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, a vapor releasing substance containing a toxic substance or any combination of liquor, drugs or vapor releasing substances if the person is impaired to the slightest degree.

2. If the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more within two hours of driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle and the alcohol concentration results from alcohol consumed either before or while driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle.”

DUI is serious and common offense. All 50 states, including the District of Columbia, have laws that state it is a crime for anyone to operate a motor vehicle if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above a certain level. In Arizona that level is 0.08.

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Under Arizona law: “A person who is convicted of a violation of this section is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor.” And if convicted, a person may be subjected to the following under Arizona law:

“1. Shall be sentenced to serve not less than ten consecutive days in jail and is not eligible for probation or suspension of execution of sentence unless the entire sentence is served.

2. Shall pay a fine of not less than two hundred fifty dollars.

3. May be ordered by a court to perform community restitution.

4. Shall pay an additional assessment of five hundred dollars to be deposited by the state treasurer in the prison construction and operations fund. This assessment is not subject to any surcharge. If the conviction occurred in the superior court or a justice court, the court shall transmit the assessed monies to the county treasurer. If the conviction occurred in a municipal court, the court shall transmit the assessed monies to the city treasurer. The city or county treasurer shall transmit the monies received to the state treasurer.

5. Shall pay an additional assessment of five hundred dollars to be deposited by the state treasurer in the public safety equipment fund. This assessment is not subject to any surcharge. If the conviction occurred in the superior court or a justice court, the court shall transmit the assessed monies to the county treasurer. If the conviction occurred in a municipal court, the court shall transmit the assessed monies to the city treasurer. The city or county treasurer shall transmit the monies received to the state treasurer.

6. Shall be required by the department, on report of the conviction, to equip any motor vehicle the person operates with a certified ignition interlock device. In addition, the court may order the person to equip any motor vehicle the person operates with a certified ignition interlock device for more than twelve months beginning on the date of reinstatement of the person’s driving privilege following a suspension or revocation or on the date of the department’s receipt of the report of conviction, whichever occurs later. The person who operates a motor vehicle with a certified ignition interlock device under this paragraph shall comply with article 5 of this chapter.”

There are also specific laws that dictate what happens to repeat offenders. Consequences include additional fines, jail time, community service, and the revoking of that person’s drivers license.

Distracted Driving

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Distracted driving can occur any time a driver takes his or her eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off the task of driving. Distracted driving includes:

  • texting while driving
  • making phone calls while driving
  • changing the radio station while driving
  • looking up directions while driving

According to the Department of Public Safety, distracted driving causes roughly 11 percent of all crashes in Arizona — nearly 1,200 during a four-month review period. Though the act of rubbernecking, texting, or using a cellphone is not illegal in Arizona, DPS has still began cracking down on offenders under Statute 28-701A. This statute requires drivers maintain a speed that is no greater than what is “reasonable and prudent” ­under the circumstances.

“The essence of the idea … is that it is not reasonable to drive any speed without looking,” said DPS Officer and spokesman Carrick Cook.

Approximately 34 percent of teens between the ages of 16-17 say they have texted while driving. Drivers who use hand-held devices are 4 times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.

During Christmas, as people rush to get to and from celebrations, it’s not unlikely for distracted driving to occur. Bills banning texting while driving in Arizona have repeatedly failed to become law, but according to Cook, DPSd believes it can combat all forms of distracted driving under the current statute. Still, it behooves you to practice safe and un-distracted driving for the safety of yourself and all those you share the road with.

Drowsiness

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year.  This fatigue results in an estimated 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries.

If you feel you are getting drowsy while behind the wheel of the car this Christmas, pull over to the side of the road and do not continue to drive. It only takes a second to fall asleep at the wheel and become one of these statistics.

Working with a Personal Injury Attorney

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If you have been involved in an automobile accident, you should immediately call a personal injury attorney that can help you build your case. If a loved one has been killed in a hit and run accident or car accident, you’ll want to immediately contact a personal injury attorney. They have the experience necessary to ensure you are able to prove your injuries or find justice for your deceased loved one so that you can collect the compensation you are owed.

Here are some more reasons to hire an experienced personal injury attorney:

Experience with assessing claims: Personal injury attorneys are experts when it comes to these types of cases and can advise you from the beginning on if you have enough of a case to pursue legal action. There’s no point in preparing for litigation if you do not have a solid case from the beginning. A personal injury attorney can assess your claim and save you time and money.

Cut through the red tape: Personal injury cases come with a lot of complicated legal procedures, confusing medical terms, and paperwork. An experienced attorney is familiar with all the paperwork and can help you cut through the red tape so you can move on with your life.

Access to an investigative team: Typically, attorneys work with a team of experienced investigators that will skillfully examine all the technical aspects of your case. You will want to provide your attorney with all of the information you have available to you so they can pass it on to the team.

Offer objectivity: Without a doubt, you will experience anger, pain, frustration, and fear if you or a loved one have been involved in a personal injury accident. These emotions may impact your ability to see the facts clearly. An attorney will be objective about your case and the facts and will help you to understand all aspects of the case before you make a rash decision. For example, you may want to agree to a quick payout, but an objective attorney might advise you that it is in your best interests to wait for a more appropriate offer.

Alternative dispute resolution: You might not need to go to trial. Many personal injury lawsuits reach a negotiation before going to court. A lawyer will be able to assess the case and determine if there are alternative dispute resolution methods (ADR), such as mediation or arbitration, that could resolve the case.

Experience resolving cases with other lawyers: An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to deal effectively and quickly with the other side’s attorney, especially during the fact-finding part of litigation where parties are legally required to exchange facts and documents.

Experience working with insurance companies: Insurance companies often move to settle quickly so they can receive their money and move on. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be accustomed to working with all the insurance companies involved and will not feel pressured by tactics or the pressure to settle.

Settlements: Many personal injury cases are resolved before they go to trial. This means an attorney negotiates a settlement on behalf of the client. Typically a plaintiff gives up the right to sue in exchange for a payment from the defendant or an insurance company. This often resolves the case sooner than if the case went to trial.

Legal Strategy: Should a case go to trial, a personal injury lawyer can represent you in court and work toward achieving the best possible jury verdict for you. He or she will be able to develop a legal strategy that will help you receive any and all compensation that is available for your injuries.

Working with a Personal Injury Attorney

The attorneys at Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC have experience handling personal injury cases such as motor vehicle, bus, and motorcycle accidents. It can be difficult dealing with injuries and extensive damages suffered during an accident caused by DUI, distracted driving, or drowsiness, or general negligence. Following an accident, victims are commonly left with questions and concerns regarding how they can successfully obtain compensation. There are many complicated insurance claim stipulations that can leave you confused. The help of an expert personal injury attorney who is well versed in the laws specific to automobile accidents in Arizona can help ensure you get the settlement you need and deserve.

After contacting an attorney, they will investigate the specifics of the crash. The more information you can provide to them, the better. That means specifics of the crash, any witness information, any medical bills or time spent in hospital, and the specifics of your injuries. They will build a case for you based on these specifics and then defend you should the case go to trial. You’ll want to work with experienced personal injury attorneys like the ones at Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC.

Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC

668 N 44th St.

Suite 300

Phoenix, AZ 85008

Phone: (623) 552-4959

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