In the vast majority of cases, it is not illegal for a person to be involved in a car accident. While a person can certainly face a civil lawsuit, they will not face criminal charges – except in specific situations. Check out these five factors that can turn a car accident into a criminal act. If you have questions about civil lawsuits, contact Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 for a free legal consultation.
- The Driver Was Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol at the Time of the Accident More than a million drivers are arrested in the United States each year for drunk driving. There are millions of dollars of damages done due to these types of accidents, and many deaths. This is why states have long had aggressive campaigns to notify the public of how dangerous it is to drive drunk and what the legal ramifications could be if they are caught doing so.
- Hit and Run If a person is involved in an accident and leaves the scene, they have committed a criminal act. Of course, there are exceptions, such as a person who leaves to get immediate medical care or a person who feels they would have been in immediate danger to stop. However, most of the time this is an illegal act and can result in the driver who left not only having to pay their own damages but spending as much as 15 years in prison.
- Reckless Driving Defined as driving without regard for others on the roads and/or the laws of the road, reckless driving includes excessive speeding, ignoring traffic laws, weaving in and out of traffic, and other types of dangerous driving behaviors. Most judges take the mental state of the driver into consideration when determining if reckless driving should result in criminal charges.
- Vehicular Manslaughter When a driver is irresponsible and drives dangerous, and a person dies in a car accident they caused, they could be charged with vehicular manslaughter. Depending on the specifics of the case, it could be a misdemeanor charge or it could be a felony charge. In most instances, if it is found that the driver was acting with ordinary negligence then they will face misdemeanor charges but will face felony charges if they are found to have acted in a grossly negligent way.
- Evading the Police It is never a good idea to flee the police. If it happens after a car accident, they could face not only hit and run charges but additional charges for evading the police. The fact is this: Trying to avoid the consequences of an accident can lead to much more serious consequences.
If you have been injured in a car accident, you will likely not have any control over whether or not the at-fault party is charged with a crime. However, you do have control over whether or not a civil case is filed against them. Contact Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 for a free legal consultation if you think you have grounds for a case.