If you're accused of drinking and driving, you may have a number of legal options laid out before you, depending on the circumstances of your arrest. If the incident is relatively minor and it's your first drunk-driving arrest, you could be eligible for a diversion program that would allow you to keep the offense off your record. But even "easy" options should be weighed carefully with the help of an attorney who can explain all of their ramifications.
Two drivers were arrested recently in the area of Bend, Oregon, as a result of two separate crashes that police said were the result of drinking and driving. Although the accidents happened in the same week and relatively the same area, the outcomes of the drivers' criminal cases are likely to be radically different.
It probably goes without saying that driving while intoxicated presents a serious danger to other people on the road. And when drivers take risks that directly affect other people, they affect their own future, as well. Aside from all of the personal ramifications of hurting or killing someone else, people who cause death or great bodily injury while driving drunk face much higher criminal penalties than those who are simply pulled over for driving erratically. They also may be ruled ineligible for diversion programs that allow them to keep a drunk-driving conviction off their criminal records.
We've all heard the expression "two wrongs don't make a right." Nor do two people accused of driving drunk before a head-on collision cancel out each other's criminal charges. Instead, that scenario can make prosecution more complicated.
Most people who make the choice to drive after consuming alcohol or drugs are primarily concerned about getting where they need to go next. If they have any concerns about their level of intoxication, they usually have to do with being pulled over by a police officer and arrested for driving under the influence of intoxicants. It's less common for a driver who's been drinking to worry about causing harm to another driver or winding up in the hospital. But these are fairly regular consequences of drinking and driving as well.
A highly unusual case of a hit-and-run collision involving an SUV and a bicycle has resulted in the driver coming forward, accepting charges against him and paying a settlement to the bicyclist. The driver, against whom police had very little evidence, pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of intoxicants and misdemeanor hit-and-run as part of a plea agreement.
Many people who are arrested for driving drunk are able to chalk up the experience as a one-time mistake and never drink and drive again. But for others, a drunk driving arrest is a sign of a much bigger problem for which they require extensive treatment. Because a conviction often comes with a requirement to undergo this treatment, in some cases an arrest for driving under the influence of intoxicants is a blessing in disguise.
Car accidents that result in injuries or death are undoubtedly stressful events. Immediately after the accident you may feel stress, shock, panic and confusion. If you know that you caused the accident, you may be tempted to avoid further trouble by leaving the accident scene immediately. But doing so won't make the fallout of the accident any easier and is likely to land you in more trouble.
Whether we did it as children or adults, most of us can admit to making up a story or telling a lie to cover up a mistake we've made. But how far would you go to avoid getting in trouble for driving drunk?
A conviction for driving under the influence of intoxicants has the potential to ruin anyone's life, but when the guilty driver is a college student, the ramifications can be much more serious. Even if the student isn't sentenced to significant jail time, a drunk driving charge on a young person's criminal record often acts as a red flag for prospective employers, loan officers and even landlords. In today's economy, securing a good job and desirable housing is hard enough without this extra obstacle.