Even though drunk driving has declined in the last three decades, it’s still a nationwide epidemic. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), each day, 28 people are killed in an alcohol-related crash in the United States – that is one life lost every 53 minutes.
The NHTSA reports that drunk driving fatalities have actually declined by one-third in the past 30 years; however, the chances of being in an alcohol-related crash during your lifetime are still extremely high – one in three according to the NHTSA.
Alcohol Leads to Car Accidents
In California and across the nation, it’s illegal for adults age 21 and over to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. For drivers under the age of 21, that limit is even lower.
The BAC limit was set at .08% because research discovered that once a person’s BAC reaches .08%, their ability to drive safely is significantly reduced. At .08% BAC, a driver has difficulty controlling their muscles, their balance and speech are affected, and their judgement is impaired.
Once a person’s BAC reaches .10% and .15%, their ability to drive safely is reduced dramatically and they pose a major safety risk to roadway users when driving. At these BAC levels, the person’s ability to brake properly and maintain lane position are severely compromised. The driver with a BAC of .10% or above is at a high risk of being in a crash and injuring themselves and others.
Are DUI Accidents Felonies?
Not all DUI accidents are felonies in California, it depends on the drunk or drugged driver’s criminal record history, and whether anyone else was injured in the accident. If it was the DUI suspect’s first DUI offense and no one was injured, it would likely be a misdemeanor offense.
A DUI accident can be a felony when:
- The driver injured or killed someone else
- The driver has three prior DUI convictions within 10 years
- The driver has a prior felony DUI conviction on their record
Generally, if a DUI accident did not cause any injuries and none of the above apply, then it’s prosecuted as a misdemeanor offense.
Were you in a DUI accident involving alcohol or drugs in Orange County? Contact our firm for a free consultation with the DUI Queen!