It can be very heartbreaking to be hit by a drunk driver, especially considering all the data circulating about the dangers of drinking and driving. Since there is an abundant amount of knowledge about driving while intoxicated and how it can take people’s lives, it’s hard to believe that people would still take the risk but tens of thousands do every day.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “Every day, almost 29 people in the United States die in alcohol-impaired crashes – that’s one person every 50 minutes in 2016.” Alcohol slows down brain function; it affects reasoning, judgement, cognitive thinking, and muscle coordination. Each of these abilities are necessary to drive a vehicle, and alcohol compromises safe driving.
Drinking and driving can be deadly, yet people still drink and get behind the wheel every day across the United States. “If you drive while impaired, you could get arrested, or worse – be involved in a traffic crash that causes serious injury or death,” says NHTSA.
DWI: Criminal & Civil Consequences
If you were hit by a drunk driver whose blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was 0.08 percent or higher but, less than 0.10 percent, and he or she was arrested and formally charged with DWI, they face the following penalties under P.L.2003, Chapter 314:
- A fine up to $400,
- Up to 30 days in jail,
- A license suspension for three months,
- An auto insurance surcharge of $1,000 for three years, and
- At least six hours a day for two days in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center.
If the person who hit you had a BAC of 0.10 percent or more, or if they were under the influence of an addicting drug, a narcotic, or a hallucinogenic, such as LSD, they will face stiffer penalties. To learn more about New Jersey’s penalties for DWI, click here.
If the person who hit you is facing DWI charges, you may be wondering if you can also file a civil lawsuit against him or her. Yes, absolutely. Even if the drunk or drugged driver who hit you is facing a criminal prosecution or is already in jail, you can still file a personal injury lawsuit to recover your damages, such as property damage to your:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
In other words, nothing is stopping you from filing a civil lawsuit against the drunk driver. In fact, you should!