DUI attorney DC Clients Trust and Vehicle Accidents
Being involved in a car accident is a very stressful experience. But being involved in a car accident when you have been drinking can also turn into a criminal case. Although your first instinct may be to panic or even run away, there are steps that a DUI attorney suggests you should take in order to protect yourself in the event you will be arrested and charged with DUI.
1. If anyone has been injured, you should call 911.
2. Although every state has different laws, these laws generally require that if there has been any injuries or property damage, then the accident needs to be reported to law enforcement.
3. Do not make any written or oral statements to any Washington DC law enforcement officers who show up at the accident scene. If you have been drinking and caused the crash, you will want to consult with a DUI attorney before you make a statement to police.
4. If the officer suspects you are under the influence, they have the legal right to request you take a breathalyzer test and submit to a field sobriety test (walk and turn, horizontal gaze, standing on one leg). Depending on the laws of the state you are in, if you refuse to submit to the breathalyzer, you will likely face an automatic suspension of your driver’s license through the Secretary of State or Department of Motor Vehicles, depending on which agency has oversight. There could be other administrative penalties, as well as criminal penalties for refusing to submit to the test.
5. Do not make any written or oral statements to victims or witnesses to the crash. These can also be used against you. For example, if you say something like, “I only had a couple of beers and thought I was fine to drive,” because you are upset that about the crash, that statement can be used against you in both the criminal case if you are charged with DUI and also used against you in any car accident injury claim or lawsuit filed by victims.
6. Obtain the names and contact information of all potential witnesses to the crash. This can be especially helpful if the crash is not your fault.
7. If you have a smartphone with a camera, take photos of the accident scene. Make sure to capture all the damage done to any vehicles, landmarks, traffic signs and/or signals, weather conditions, road conditions, and any other items you think could be helpful. A Washington DC DUI attorney can use these photos as evidence in your defense.
8. Write down all the details of the crash, including the date and time and anything that the other driver, victims, or witnesses said or did.
9. Do not leave the scene, even if you have been drinking and especially if someone has been injured. If you do, this could result in being charged with a felony hit and run which is a very serious charge in Washington DC and beyond.
10. Contact a DUI attorney DC residents recommend to begin preparing your defense right away.