Following an arrest for a DUI accident, people often think about the ensuing criminal case, but a civil case could also arise. In fact, all aspects of a person’s DUI criminal case can also be used in a civil case. The only thing that cannot be used is a finding of guilt or a no-contest plea, but all other manifestations and observations that an officer sees on the side of the road can absolutely be used. With so much at stake, challenging an Atlanta DUI with property damage and/or personal injury can be important. A capable DUI attorney can potentially help you challenge your DUI, and can try to pursue a positive outcome for you.
How Does a Personal Injury Case Become a DUI Investigation?
Not a lot needs to happen for a crash investigation to transition to a DUI criminal investigation. If the officer suspects the use of alcohol or drugs, they will do an investigation and run the person through a field sobriety test, generally making some sort of determination that the person is under the influence.
They may give field tests and notice other types of manifestations of impairment but, generally, not a lot needs to be done other than simply observations such as the odor of alcohol, looking at somebody’s eyes, the mannerisms that a person displays on the side of the road. Those are all things an officer could use to make a determination that somebody is impaired or basically needs further investigation for a DUI.
Typically, the tests they would use are all their senses, e.g., their eyes, their nose, their ears and based on what a person says. If a person is injured, they may simply give them what is called an Alco-Sensor (a handheld breath test) to determine if there is alcohol in the person’s body. Typically, if a person is injured after driving a motor vehicle, the odor of alcohol alone, or with other manifestations, could be enough for probable cause to arrest them for DUI and ask for a blood, breath or urine test.
Protections for Statements Made During the Stop
There is no protection for a person’s statements that they give to an officer on the side of the road. Whatever a person says can and will be used against them unless they are under arrest and being interrogated. When challenging an Atlanta DUI with property damage and/or personal injury, it is important to realize that the statements that the defendant made during the stop are still valid. If a person is in custody, which means having the reasonable belief they are not free to leave and being interrogated, Miranda rights must be read. The courts are not liberal in defining custody. Usually, a person must be arrested or the equivalent, to be considered not free to leave.
Steps an Atlanta DUI Attorney Can Take
An attorney wants to preclude you from making any sort of statements to the insurance company. Your lawyer’s words do not count as evidence, and therefore cannot be used as an admission, against you. Your words, however, are admissible against you in a criminal case later down the road. In addition, a plea of guilty can be used against a person civilly whereas a no-contest plea or a finding of guilt cannot. Not only can your attorney represent you and attempt to protect you, they can also help you if you are considering challenging an Atlanta DUI with property damage and/or personal injury. Consult an experienced attorney that can try to build a solid case for you.