Drunk Driver Lawyers

Project Description

Drunk Drivers – Automobile Accident Lawyers

Kraemer, Manes & Associates LLC “KM&A” is a personal injury law firm with car accident lawyers serving all of Pennsylvania. If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident with a drunk driver involving serious personal injury, or you have lost a loved one from an accident, we invite you to contact us for a consultation. Call a KM&A automobile accident lawyer at 412-626-5626 or email us at lawyer@lawkm.com

Dangers of Drunk Driving

When a driver’s ability to make decisions and effectively evaluate his or her surroundings is impaired to any extent, he or she will oftentimes behave carelessly, potentially causing damage to other drivers on the road. This type of behavior is especially prevalent in drunk drivers. Those who drink and drive often show signs of inebriation such as:

  • Difficulty focusing on the road
  • Inability to stay within lane lines
  • Difficulty following traffic signals
  • Slowed reaction times

Pennsylvania Drunk Driving Laws

The limits for what constitutes “drunk driving” varies depending on what type of driver you are.

  • Non-commercial drivers over 21 years of age are considered drunk when they have a BAC of .08 or higher
  • Commercials drivers are considered drunk when they have a BAC of .04 or higher
  • School bus drivers and drivers under 21 years of age are considered drunk when they have a BAC of .02 or higher

Penalties for drunk driving will depend on how high a driver’s BAC was, what damage that driver caused, and how many previous DUI offenses they have. For non-commercial drivers over the age of 21, the penalties for a DUI are as follows.

General Impairment

A driver is considered “generally impaired” if his or her BAC is at least .08 but below .10.

  • For a first-time offense, a driver will be required to pay a $300 fine, undergo six (6) months of probation, attend alcohol and driving safety courses, and comply with any alcohol treatment requirements the sentencing judge may demand.
  • For a second-time offense, a driver will be required to pay a fine between $300 and $2,500, undergo at least five (5) days imprisonment, attend alcohol and driving safety courses, and comply with any alcohol treatment requirements the sentencing judge may demand.
  • For any further offenses, a driver will be required to pay a fine between $500 and $5,000, undergo at least ten (10) days imprisonment, and comply with any alcohol treatment requirements the sentencing judge may demand.

High Rate of Blood Alcohol

A driver is considered to have a “high rate of blood alcohol” if his or her BAC is at least .10 but below .16.

  • For a first-time offense, a driver will be required to pay a fine between $500 and $5,000, undergo at least 48 hours of imprisonment, attend alcohol and driving safety courses, and comply with any alcohol treatment requirements the sentencing judge may demand.
  • For a second-time offense, a driver will be required to pay a fine between $750 and $5,000, undergo at least 30 days of imprisonment, attend alcohol and driving safety courses, and comply with any alcohol treatment requirements the sentencing judge may demand.
  • For a third-time offense, a driver will be required to pay a fine between $1,500 and $10,000, undergo at least 90 days of imprisonment, and comply with any alcohol treatment requirements the sentencing judge may demand.
  • For any further violations, a driver will be required to pay a fine between $1,500 and $10,000, undergo at least one year of imprisonment, and comply with any alcohol treatment requirements the sentencing judge may demand.

Highest Rate of Blood Alcohol

A driver is considered to have the “highest rate of blood alcohol” when his or her BAC is .16 or higher.

  • For a first-time offense, a driver must pay a fine between $1,000 and $5,000, undergo at least 72 hours of imprisonment, attend alcohol and driving safety courses, and comply with any alcohol treatment requirements the sentencing judge may demand.
  • For a second-time offense, a driver must pay a fine of at least $1,500, undergo at least 90 days of imprisonment, attend alcohol and driving safety courses, and comply with any alcohol treatment requirements the sentencing judge may demand.
  • For any further violations, a driver must pay a fine of at least $2,500, undergo at least one year of imprisonment, and comply with any alcohol treatment requirements the sentencing judge may demand.
Drunk Driver Accident Lawyer: 412-626-5626

Drunk Driver Accident Lawyer: 412-626-5626

Drunk Driving with a High Rate of Blood Alcohol that Causes Bodily Injury, Vehicle Damage, or Property Damage

Special penalties apply when a driver with a high rate of blood alcohol causes bodily injury or damage to a vehicle or other property.

  • For a first-time offense, a driver must pay a fine between $500 and $5,000, undergo at least 48 hours of imprisonment, attend alcohol and driving safety courses, and comply with any alcohol treatment requirements the sentencing judge may demand.
  • For a second-time offense, a driver must pay a fine between $750 and $5,000, undergo at least 30 days of imprisonment, attend alcohol and driving safety courses, and comply with any alcohol treatment requirements the sentencing judge may demand.
  • For a third-time offense, a driver must pay a fine between $1,500 and $10,000, undergo at least 90 days of imprisonment, and comply with any alcohol treatment requirements the sentencing judge may demand.
  • For any further offenses, a driver must pay a fine between $1,500 and $10,000, undergo at least one year of imprisonment, and comply with any alcohol treatment requirements the sentencing judge may demand.

What This Means for the Victim of a Drunk Driver

Liability

Proving that the person who injured you was drunk at the time of your accident can help you prove in front of a judge or jury that that person should be held liable to you for monetary damages. It also may lead to greater compensation in the form of punitive damages (i.e. damages the defendant is required to pay to you that are meant to deter him or her from engaging in the same behavior again).

However, just because the person who hit you was convicted of a DUI does not mean that conviction will be admissible as evidence at your trial. It is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to help you make sure evidence that the person who hit you was drunk makes its way in front of the judge or jury so that they can adequately assess how much that driver should have to pay you for your injuries.

Insurance

Many drivers in Pennsylvania have limited tort auto insurance, which limits the type of compensation a motorist can receive after an accident to “economic” damages such as medical bills. This type of insurance excludes “noneconomic” damages such as pain and suffering.

However, regardless of what type of insurance you have, you may sue for property damage, medical bills, lost wages, and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering if you were hit by a driver who pled guilty to a DUI or was convicted of driving under the influence at trial. Additionally, even if you were hit by a driver who did not plead guilty or was not convicted of such conduct, you can sue that driver for noneconomic damages if the accident caused you serious bodily injury.

Note that if you were hit by an uninsured driver or an underinsured driver who pled guilty or was convicted of a DUI, the exception to your limited tort auto insurance may not apply. See our page on Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists for more details.

Why Hire an Attorney?

While all auto accidents can have serious consequences, drunk drivers often cause more serious damage than sober drivers. It is important for you to understand your rights and know exactly what your options are moving forward. Dealing with the aftereffects of an auto accident with a drunk driver can often be a confusing and tedious process, requiring lengthy discussions with insurance companies and an in-depth investigation of the circumstances surrounding the accident. An experienced attorney will be able to evaluate your case and advise you on the best routes to take.

If you have experienced injuries or damage to your property as the result of an accident with a drunk driver, it is important for you to contact an attorney who understands the law surrounding your case. At Kraemer, Manes & Associates, our personal injury attorney has the experience necessary to review the facts of your case and thoroughly advise you on what to do next. Call us at 412-626-5626 for your initial consultation.

Call (412) 626-5626 To Speak With An Automobile Accident Lawyer

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