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If I Was Convicted of a DUI, Am I at Fault for the Car Crash?

Driving while under the influence is considered a crime, and the consequences after being caught can include immense fines, jail time and a suspension of your driver’s license. But, many people may wonder is the driver who was behind the wheel drunk automatically assumed to be at fault for the accident itself? The answer is, not necessarily. If you were found guilty of driving while intoxicated, your chances of being found at-fault for the accident is higher, but you are not immediately considered the party responsible. Here we cover more information about the legalities of car accidents, and how a DUI can be a factor in the case.


So, who is determined to be the at-fault driver for the car crash?

In most incidents of car collisions, the key component of the case is who is at-fault. The person responsible and his or her insurance company are then financially liable to cover damages and personal injuries that resulted from the collision. Fault is commonly broken down into three main parts, and are defined as follows:


  1. Duty of care – the duty of driver translates into a responsibility to operate the car with a reasonable amount of care the entire time while behind the wheel.

  2. Breach – the person has breached or broken the duty of care by not acting in a responsible or careful manner at the time of the collision.

  3. Causation – the plaintiff must establish a causation link between the other driver’s breach in duty of care and the injuries or damages that resulted.


How is the defendant’s driving while under the influence taken into consideration?

The plaintiff simply stating that the driver was drinking while driving is not sufficient to win the case and prove cause. The defendant being intoxicated can be the plaintiff’s argument for how the duty of care and breach was committed. In other words, the plaintiff may have a solid argument that the defendant failed to drive in a reasonable and careful way due to being drunk behind the wheel.


However, the driver being drunk may not be the deciding factor for causation. Whether the defendant being intoxicated is relevant depends on the car accident scenario. For example, in a rear-end crash, the driver behind is usually at-fault and whether or not the driver ahead was drunk is unrelated.


Should I hire an attorney to help my case?

It is highly recommended that you consult with an attorney for your case. An attorney can offer legal advice and representation throughout every step in the legal process. Fighting the court system alone may not only be scary, but can greatly hinder your chances of a case verdict in your favor if you are not prepared with knowledge and strategy. Most law firms offer a free case evaluation for new prospective clients, which can be a great tool to get legal advice regarding your case before choosing the right attorney, like a DUI lawyer Salt Lake City UT relies on, for you. It can help alleviate the mounting pressure of your case by having a legal professional working alongside you and speaking up on your behalf.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Rasmussen & Miner for their added insight.

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