Impaired driving is no “accident.”
If you or a loved one were the victims of an Atlanta car crash caused by drugs or alcohol, our personal injury lawyers can make sure justice is served.
When someone makes the irresponsible choice to drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs (or both), they don’t just put themselves at risk. In such cases, the word “accident” isn’t really accurate when describing a crash involving someone who drove under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The driver made a deliberate choice to get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and they should be held accountable for their actions.
It is well known that drunk or drugged driving substantially increases a driver’s chances of causing a serious car wreck. The consequences can be extremely serious, resulting in a fatal car crash or very serious injuries, including brain damage, amputation, paralysis and severe burns.
Of course, the problem of impaired driving crashes in Georgia isn’t simply caused by alcohol. Marijuana, crystal meth, methamphetamines, heroin, cocaine, opium and other illegal drugs, as well as pain medication and other prescription drugs, can lead drivers to drive recklessly and dangerously on Atlanta’s busy roads and highways.
At Scholle Law, our team of Georgia car accident attorneys specializes in securing compensation and justice for victims of drunk driving accidents. For many years, our founder Charles Scholle served as an Advisory Board Member for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
Why contact our DUI accident lawyer in Atlanta, GA?
For over 20 years, we have represented individuals and families seeking justice and financial compensation for very serious injuries in Duluth and all across Atlanta. We understand that accident victims often suffer intense emotional and physical pain, as well as tremendous financial strain, in the aftermath of a DUI or drug-related crash. We can help.
If you or a loved one were the victim in an auto crash involving alcohol or drug impairment, our Atlanta accident attorneys and legal professionals at Scholle Law are ready to help you recover. Act quickly to contact a legal representative if you have been involved in a crash with an intoxicated driver.
It’s important to note that you only have a limited time period in which to file a personal injury claim against an at-fault driver and their insurance company. In Georgia, the statute of limitations for civil DUI injury claims is 2 years from the date of the accident. That may sound like a lot of time, but in these types of cases, even a slight delay can make proving the case much harder, if not impossible. The sooner you consult a car accident lawyer near you, the better.
Contact us to speak with a lawyer about your accident.We’re available 24/7 and your first consultation is free.
Call 866-972-5287 or send us a message online
Georgia drunk driving statistics
The United States Department of Transportation has noted that about one-third of DUI accident victims are not the intoxicated drivers, but rather their passengers, pedestrians or people in other vehicles — many of these victims being children. Statistics indicate that just over a quarter of Georgia’s fatal traffic accidents in recent years involved drunk drivers. Although lower than the national average, it is still much higher than it should be.
Drunk driving accident compensation and punitive damages
Georgia laws (and juries) don’t look kindly on drivers who are proven to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Legal liability (fault for the accident) is generally easier to prove in cases involving intoxicated drivers, particularly if the driver was criminally charged with a DUI, drug or “less safe” offense. That means it could be easier for victims to win their case and be offered a larger settlement.
If you must go to court to enforce your rights, you may be entitled to additional punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish severe wrongdoing, and these special payments are not available in every case. Normally, under Georgia law, punitive damages are capped at $250,000, but punitive damages can be unlimited when alcohol is involved.
- Medical bills
- Vehicle repair costs
- Other property damage
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability or scarring
- Wrongful death
How to spot a drunk driver on Georgia’s roads
If you see a suspected drunk driver, do NOT attempt to stop the driver on your own. Doing so can put both the driver and yourself in harm’s way. Instead, call 911 and give them information about your location, the vehicle’s make, model and license plate number if possible. Keep a safe distance from the driver until police intercept them.
According to MADD, drunk drivers commonly display the following behaviors:
- Swerving in and out of lanes
- Hugging the centerline in an attempt to avoid swerving
- Hitting objects along the road, such as curbs, mailboxes and parked cars
- Driving under the speed limit
- Making wide turns or overcorrecting a basic driving maneuver
- Braking erratically or for no reason at all
- Forgetting to use turn signals
- Forgetting to turn on headlights
What are the penalties for impaired driving in Georgia?
In Georgia, a driver exhibiting a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher can face DUI charges. Drivers under the age of 21 – the legal age to drink – who have a BAC of 0.02 can also face DUI charges. Commercial truckers can be issued a citation for DUI if they test positive for alcohol at 0.04 BAC or higher.
If you are convicted of driving under the influence, a judge will decide what your jail time and fine will be within the statutory guidelines depending on whether it’s your first, second or third DUI offense. These penalties can include:
- First DUI offense. 10 days to 12 months in jail, $300 to $1,000 fine, 20 to 40+ hours of community service
- Second DUI offense. 90 days to 12 months in jail, $600 to $1,000 fine, minimum 30 days community service
- Third DUI offense. 120 days to 12 months in jail, $1,000 to $5,000 fine, minimum 30 days community service
Following these punishments, a convicted DUI offender is placed on probation for 12 months (minus time served in jail). All DUI offenders are required to serve at least 24 hours in jail for the first offense before their probation begins, 72 hours for the second offense, and 15 days for their third offense.
Convicted drivers will also be required to undergo an alcohol and drug treatment program. Any impaired drivers who were transporting a minor (child) passenger at the time of their arrest may face further charges of child endangerment, which carries a penalty of up to 12 months in jail and $1,000 fine (on top of any regular DUI charges).
A driver convicted of a second DUI within 5 years of their first offense must turn over their license until a judge reinstates their driving privileges. If convicted of a third offense, the judge can order that the vehicle involved in the offense be forfeited and sold.
Beyond the punishments described above, DUI offenders in Georgia face further driver’s license penalties. A first-offense requires a 12-month license suspension, which may be reinstated after 120 days if a DUI education program is completed by the driver and a $200 reinstatement fee is paid. For a second offense, a 3-year suspension is possible, but the license can be reinstated after 18 months if the same DUI program and fee is paid. A third offense may lead to permanent license revocation, but a driver can attempt to earn a probationary license after 3 years. If the driver is convicted of DUI resulting in serious injury or death, their license can be suspended for 3 years with no early reinstatement options.
While these strict penalties show that Georgia takes drunk driving seriously, their intention is to punish the offender — not to compensate the victim. These are criminal penalties, not civil damages. In order for the victim of a drunk driver to recover the compensation they deserve, they’ll have to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver in civil court.
Talk to an experienced Atlanta car accident lawyer near you
Scholle Law is an Atlanta-based team of lawyers dedicated to helping our neighbors and clients who have been the victims of drunk driving. Our goal is to help you get through the litigation process with as little stress as possible. Unlike other law firms that take on so many cases that they cannot provide clients with personal attention, our lawyers will take the time needed to explain the process and keep you up-to-date on your case.
For more than 2 decades, we have represented the victims of Atlanta drunk drivers. We are dedicated to excellence and will work tenaciously to get you the best possible financial outcome. Schedule your free consultation now by sending us a message.
This evaluation is free of charge and you’re not obligated to make a decision. We’ll simply provide you with answers.