When someone is injured in a DUI accident, there are both criminal and civil penalties to think about. Criminal penalties such as jail time, fines and community service, are given to the driver to punish him or her for misdeeds, not to compensate the victims for their injuries.
There is a difference between collecting damages for your injuries and punishing someone with criminal penalties. It is important to understand the difference and what your rights are under each type of law.
DUI Criminal Penalties Designed to Punish
DUI penalties, even for first time offenders, can include a variety of penalties. Many factors go into determining these penalties, including the driver’s blood alcohol level and any collisions resulting in injury or death. Those who have been convicted for DUI face relatively harsh penalties in Nevada. State law provides that an individual who enters a “guilty” or “no contest” plea will receive a court- imposed jail time of 48 hours to six months. The court can also impose 96 hours of community service in lieu of jail time. A first time DUI offender will also receive a fine of at least $400, but no more than $1000. As the severity of the DUI increases, the penalties also increase.
Civil Penalties Designed to Compensate
Unlike criminal punishments and fines, civil awards are designed to compensate victims for their damages. These damages are awarded to the victims of accidents by a jury or are agreed upon by the parties involved, often the victim and an insurance company.
The problem with collecting civil damages in a DUI case is that so many DUI drivers are uninsured. If at all possible, an insurance company will drop a DUI driver quickly before they have to pay out any damages. However, a good personal injury attorney can fight for your rights and hold insurance companies accountable for the actions of their drivers. If the driver has no insurance, you may be able to collect money from your own uninsured motorist policy.
All victims of drunk drivers have legal options to pursue compensation for damages. These damages can include pain and suffering, loss of income, and high medical costs as well as other expenses. Utilizing the services of professional and knowledgeable personal injury lawyers, like those at Bernstein & Poisson Law Firm in Las Vegas, you can build your case and fight for your just compensation.