Wesley Chapel Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
Driving under the influence (DUI) is illegal in Florida, but that doesn’t stop thousands of people each year from getting behind the wheel after drinking too much. Impaired drivers end up killing hundreds of people. In fact, state statistics show that 342 people died in alcohol-and-drug related crashes in 2019, and hundreds more were injured. If an intoxicated driver has injured you, a Wesley Chapel drunk driving accident attorney at Moore Law can help.
Defining Drunk Driving
Florida’s criminal law clearly states that a defendant has committed a DUI when they operate a motor vehicle on a public road and:
- Their blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 or higher
- They have consumed any amount of alcohol or an illegal substance which impairs their normal faculties
The law makes clear that a person can be convicted of DUI even if they blow a low number on a breathalyzer. What matters is whether the drugs or alcohol have impaired their ability to drive safely.
The same is true when a person has consumed an illegal substance, including marijuana. Even a little bit of weed, taken for medical purposes, can lead to a criminal charge if it impedes the ability to operate the vehicle safely.
Drunk Driving & Civil Suits
After an accident, a prosecutor will decide whether to charge the drunk driver with DUI. Many factors go into their decision, including the defendant’s criminal history and the circumstances surrounding the crash.
But drunk driving is also a “tort,” or civil wrong. If you have been injured by a drunk driver, you can sue in civil court for money damages as compensation for your injuries. This civil suit is independent of the criminal case, and you have a lower burden of proof. In the criminal context, for example, a prosecutor needs proof beyond a reasonable doubt to get a conviction. In a civil case, we need proof by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant is responsible for your injuries.
The evidence used in both criminal and civil cases is similar. We can obtain the results of chemical tests which show the defendant’s BAC. We can also use witness testimony to show the driver was a danger on the road.
Compensation for Your Injuries
Our lawyers can pursue money damages to make up for the losses you have suffered, such as:
- Medical treatment, including rehabilitation and the cost of prescription drugs
- Future medical expenses, if you are suffering with permanent injuries
- Lost income, including loss of future income
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
Florida also has a “dram shop law” which sometimes makes a tavern, bar, or social host responsible for an accident. The logic behind the law is sound. If someone contributed to the crash, then they should pay compensation to someone injured.
In Florida, an establishment or social host is only responsible if alcohol is given to someone under age 21 or if they served alcohol to someone who was known to be a habitual drunkard. So someone serving alcohol to high school students could be liable if that student crashes into you.
Speak with a Wesley Chapel Drunk Driving Accident Attorney Today
Drunk driving accidents often happen at high speeds and leave devastating injuries. For assistance with your claim, contact Moore Law today. We will gladly meet with you for a free consultation.