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DUI With an Accident

Capable Attorney Defends Drivers from Charges of DUI With an Accident in Indiana

Fort Wayne DUI attorney addresses criminal charges and civil liability

If you had a traffic accident in Indiana after consuming alcoholic beverages, you could be facing felony drunken driving charges as well as a civil lawsuit for any bodily injury or property damage caused. You need an experienced and determined criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and fight these serious consequences. At The Law Offices of Ryan E. Lackey in Fort Worth, we take decisive steps to challenge the criminal case against you and to protect you from civil liability. 

Criminal penalties for DUI with an accident

The official term for drunk or drug-impaired driving in Indiana is operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI). However, the term DUI is used in common parlance. 

DUI charges escalate when there is an accident that causes injury or death. Indiana authorities can charge a driver with the following:

  • Level 6 felony — An intoxicated driver who causes an accident resulting in severe injury to a person or the death of a law enforcement animal faces Level 6 felony charges, punishable by 2.5 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Level 5 felony — If an intoxicated driver causes an accident, the offense is a Level 5 felony under any of these circumstances:
    • The driver caused another person’s death in the accident
    • The driver seriously injured another person in the accident and has been convicted of DUI within the past five years.
    • The driver has a prior DUI conviction within the past five years that involved serious injury or death

The sentence for a Level 5 felony includes imprisonment for one to six years and a fine of up to $10,000.

  • Level 4 Felony — Authorities charge a Level 4 felony when an intoxicated driver causes a fatal accident and one of the following is true:
    • The driver has a prior DUI charge within the past 10 years.
    • The driver has a suspended license for a separate DUI charge or for multiple traffic offenses.
    • The driver records a BAC equal to or exceeding 0.15 percent.

The sentence for a Level 4 felony includes imprisonment for two to 12 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

If the accident kills or injures multiple people, the driver will face a separate count for each victim. 

Defenses to DUI with an accident charges in Indiana 

Under Indiana drunk driving laws, you may have viable defenses, such as a challenge to a field sobriety test and to the accuracy of blood alcohol testing. Our firm is prepared to explore all reasonable strategies for defending you.

Civil liability for property damage and injuries due to DUI

A criminal conviction virtually ensures that a driver will be found liable for personal injury or wrongful death in a civil lawsuit. But even a driver who is acquitted criminally can be found liable in civil court due to the lower standard of proof required.

What if someone else was at fault when you got into a DUI accident in Indiana?

The mere presence of alcohol in your system is not evidence that you caused the accident. You may have a viable defense based on someone else’s negligent or reckless driving. In a civil case, another negligent driver would have to share at least some of the liability for damages. In some civil cases, the plaintiff might also sue a person or business that provided alcohol to the drunk driver. Although this strategy places some of the fault on the party who provided alcohol in the lawsuit, it does not relieve the driver of responsibility for causing injury. 

Statute of limitations for DUI charges

Authorities have five years to bring criminal charges for DUI with an accident. However, civil plaintiffs have only two years from the date of an accident to file a lawsuit.

Contact a reliable criminal defense attorney for DUI accident cases

The Law Offices of Ryan E. Lackey in Fort Worth provides a dedicated defense for Indiana drivers charged with DUI resulting in an accident. For a free consultation, please call us at 260-222-7364 or contact the firm online.

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  • Fort Wayne Office
    1519 Spy Run Ave.
    Fort Wayne, Indiana 46805
    Phone: 260-437-0197
    Fax: 260-745-4703