Drunk driving accidents are different from other car accidents in two main ways. First, driving while intoxicated, or driving under the influence (DUI) is illegal in Orlando (and everywhere in the United States). Drunk driving is therefore a criminal matter and a civil matter. Drunk driving is automatically considered negligence, as it was a conscious decision to break the law. To be charged with DUI in Florida, the blood alcohol content (BAC) of the driver must be .08 percent or higher for 21 years and older drivers; .04 percent or higher for commercial drivers; and .02 percent for drivers under 21 years of age.
If somebody is convicted of DUI in Florida, there is no minimum jail sentence, although there is a possibility of a six to nine month sentence depending on the BAC of the driver. There is also a fine of between $500 and $2000, as well as fifty hours of community service for a first offense. Sentencing conditions may also include a residential treatment program or a period of probation.
The insurance company for the intoxicated driver may still be reluctant to pay your claim, so you might need to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover for damages sustained by a drunk driver. This brings us to the second major difference between other car accident claims and drunk driving accidents: the possibility of punitive damages for injury victims.
Punitive damages are in addition to compensatory damages, as an expression of public policy. Punitive damages for victims are expressly allowed by the Florida legislature against drunk drivers as a method of punishing people who have caused harm, and to deter others from doing the same. If you have any questions, then give our experienced team of Orlando car accident lawyers a FREE call today.