DUI Accidents in Tampa, Florida
Being arrested for
driving under the influence is never a simple matter. It, however, can be aggravated if you are found
to be drinking and driving after being in a car accident. Informally referred
to as a DUI accident, any car crash involving a driver who is suspected
to have been driving under the influence can cause extreme complexities.
Even in cases where the driver was not the cause of the accident, they
may come under suspicion or be found guilty just because they have traces
of alcohol in their system. It is therefore imperative that no time is
wasted in getting the involvement of a high-quality attorney who can help
you deal with the complications to ensure that your legal rights are protected
to the full extent of the law.
Understanding the Burden of Proof
In any criminal case, the burden of proof lies with the prosecution - not
the defendant. This is because, according to the Sixth Edition of Black's
Law Dictionary, "the proof lies upon him who affirms...since, by
the nature of things, he who denies a fact cannot produce any proof."
Therefore, if you find yourself facing criminal charges of a DUI accident
or DUI with injury, it will be your responsibility to defend against the
It will be the burden of the prosecution to prove the following:
- You were driving the vehicle;
You had a
BAL over 0.08 percent or were impaired;
- You caused the car accident;
- The victim was injured; and
- Their injuries were caused by the accident you caused.
About DUIs Causing Serious Bodily Injury
Per Florida Statutes §316.1933, serious bodily injury is defined as
any injury that causes a physical condition that creates a risk of death,
personal disfigurement, as well as the risk of a loss or impairment of
any bodily member or organ function. Therefore, a serious bodily injury
could be dismemberment, a spinal cord injury or even traumatic brain injury.
If someone involved in the accident suffered this level of catastrophic
injury, it will create a different level of complications for your case.
For example, any DUI that resulted in a serious bodily injury will allow
for law enforcement officers to use reasonable force to require a person
to submit to a
blood test to determine their blood alcohol level at the time of the accident.
This, however, can enter into a significantly gray area of the law. The
law only provides guidelines for what is considered to be a serious bodily
injury - not a solid outline of the types of injuries that qualify. Therefore,
it is often left up to the judgment of the arresting officer. Unfortunately,
these judgment calls are not always accurate. The court dealt with such
a matter in
State v. Schreiber
, where the arresting officer took a forced draw after he failed to read
the defendant her rights under the Implied Consent law. It was later determined
in the District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fourth District that the two
fractured ankles did not qualify as "serious bodily injury."
The resulting blood draws were therefore suppressed.
Why You Should Contact a Tampa DUI Lawyer
When your future is on the line, you simply cannot afford to work with
an inexperienced attorney. You need someone on your side who will know
the steps to take and will fight to protect them. With over two decades
of aggregate experience, the legal team at Thomas & Paulk, P.A. knows
what you are up against and will fight to preserve your future.
If you would like to learn more about our firm and the different steps
that we can take to help protect your legal rights, do not hesitate to
give us a call as soon as possible.