Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can cause a significant amount of damage, traumatic injuries, and loss of life. For this reason, South Carolina, along with other states throughout the US, takes DUI cases very seriously. However, despite the harsh consequences that DUI drivers face, this is still one of the most frequent causes of deadly auto accidents in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Part of the reason that this is still such a problem is because those who are intoxicated are less likely to make wise decisions or accurately judge their own level of intoxication. Many drivers are under the impression that they are just ‘buzzed,’ or that they are not impaired at all. They think they are safe to drive and don’t realize that their blood alcohol content is higher than the legal limit for driving and they are at increased risk of an auto accident that injures themselves or someone else.
This is where the phrase, ‘buzzed driving is drunk driving’ originated, as the National Highway Safety Administration fully understands what causes intoxicated drivers to get behind the wheel: the belief that they are not impaired. It is no secret, as those who are responsible for DUI auto accidents in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and elsewhere frequently utter the same words in their defense: ‘I’m not drunk.’ They are typically quite surprised to discover that their BAC is over the legal limit of .08.
The Legal Definition of ‘Drunk’ when it Comes to Driving in Spartanburg, South Carolina
Every police officer in Spartanburg, South Carolina, who has ever pulled anyone over for drunk driving has heard someone say, ‘I’m not drunk.’ Yet, ‘drunk’ is not a subjective term. The driver may believe with all their heart and soul that they are not drunk, that they are only buzzed, or even that they aren’t even buzzed, but the truth is revealed in the objective breathalyzer or blood alcohol content test. If this test reveals a BAC of greater than .08, then the driver is “legally drunk” (there is a arguable presumption that a driver is under the influence of alcohol). For drivers under the age of 21, it doesn’t even have to be this high, because minors are not allowed to drink at all. Any blood alcohol content reading at all could lead to a DUI charge for a driver under 21 years old.
The Consequences of a DUI Charge in Spartanburg, South Carolina
The consequences of a DUI charge in Spartanburg, South Carolina, include fines, jail time, and the suspension or revoking of your driver’s license. It can also cause your auto insurance rates to increase. If you cause an auto accident while intoxicated, then the fines, penalties, and jail time are likely to be more severe. If you cause a traumatic injury or kill someone while driving under the influence, then again, your consequences will likely be even more severe. Finally, if you are charged with a DUI more than once, as a repeat offender, this will also cause the consequences to be more severe.
In cases where a bar or other establishment served alcohol to a minor or to a person who was obviously intoxicated, and then allowed that person to leave the property in a vehicle, the establishment could be held responsible in a civil claim called a dram shop lawsuit. This is only applicable in cases where the establishment was licensed to sell alcohol. There is also such a thing as social host liability, where you might pursue a claim against someone who served alcohol at their home or other private property. However, social host liability applies only if the host served alcohol to an minor; if the DUI driver is an adult, then this doctrine will not be relevant.
Indications that Another Driver is Intoxicated in Spartanburg, South Carolina
It may feel like there is little that you can do about other drivers who choose to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Spartanburg, South Carolina, but you actually have a lot more power than you may think in such cases. For instance, you can keep an eye out for driving behaviors that seem reckless or may indicate intoxication. If you notice a driver swerving, weaving in and out of traffic, or behaving in any way that seems impaired, you can actively avoid getting too close to that driver and also notify the police. You may be wrong. The driver may not be intoxicated. They may be drowsy driving, distracted driving, or simply reckless driving for any other reason.
Yet, if you bring the reckless driving behavior to the attention of the police, provide the description of the vehicle, the license plate number, and a description of what kind of behavior has caused you to be alarmed, then the police can take it from there. If the driver is drunk, then they need to be pulled over and taken out of traffic. But even if you are wrong and the reckless driving has some other cause, it still needs to be addressed and confronted before the driver causes an auto accident.
The Aftermath of a Drunk Driving Auto Accident in Spartanburg, South Carolina
In the aftermath of a drunk driving auto accident in Spartanburg, South Carolina, you will need to remain calm and attend to anyone who is injured. You may be upset with the drunk driver, but you should not act on your feelings. Expressing your anger and frustration will only make the situation worse, and it will not help anyone who is hurt. This is difficult advice to follow, especially when someone you love has been seriously injured or even killed by the irresponsible behavior of a drunk driver. Yet, this is not the time to seek revenge or to confront the intoxicated driver. It may bring little comfort when your damages are traumatizing, but you will be able to seek compensation from the at-fault driver at a later date. You may even be able to get punitive damages (punishment damages) from the driver whose reckless disregard for human life caused your injuries and losses.
Consult with a South Carolina Auto Accident Attorney Today
The most important things you need to do in the aftermath of a DUI auto accident in Spartanburg, South Carolina, include calling the police and emergency medical assistance, gathering evidence, exchanging insurance information and contacting an attorney. Call Double Aught Injury Lawyers for a free consultation to learn more.