According to New Jersey law, a blood alcohol concentration of above 0.08 is considered to be driving under influence (DUI). A driving under the influence conviction is considered to be a traffic offense, and not a criminal offense, but nevertheless carries steep penalties, especially for repeat offenses.
If however, a drunk driver injures another person, both criminal and civil charges may be filed against the intoxicated driver.
Criminal Charges Against a Drunk Driver Monmouth County NJ Attorney
The decision whether or not to pursue criminal charges against a drunk driver who causes injury is made by the county prosecutor, and not the injured individual. In the case of the drunk driver causing serious bodily injury, the prosecutor may choose to pursue a third degree Assault by Auto charge, which have a maximum prison sentence of five years for convictions. In the case of lesser injuries, the prosecutor may instead decide to pursue fourth degree Assault by Auto charges, which carry a maximum prison sentence of eighteen months. If the accident occurred in a school zone, penalties are even steeper, with a third degree conviction carrying up to ten years in prison.
It is important to note that unlike a simple Driving Under the Influence charge, which is considered a traffic violation and not a criminal act, an Assault by Auto conviction is a criminal charge, and as such is placed on the permanent criminal record of the offender which can affect future and current employment opportunities.
If you have been charged with Assault by Auto, it is extremely important that you retain the counsel of an experienced Monmouth County DUI/DWI lawyer in order to defend your rights and future.
Civil Charges Against a Drunk Driver in Monmouth County
Civil charges, also known as a personal injury lawsuit, may be filed by the injured party or their family against the drunk driver and other responsible parties. A personal injury lawsuit will seek to recover damages for medical expenses incurred as a result of the injuries, any lost income or wages if the injured party is unable to work, and punitive damages known as pain and suffering.
Not only may the drunk driver and their insurance company be held liable, it is also possible that a bar or restaurant may be held liable in the case that they served the driver with excess amounts of alcohol. This is what is known as the dram shop law.
A successful drunk driving personal injury lawsuit will require you and your Monmouth County drunk driving civil attorney to prove that the offending party was intoxicated, that their intoxication lead to the accident, and the accident caused you injury. An experienced Red Bank personal injury attorney will be able to help their client through the entire process, advise them on settlement options, and help them present the strongest possible case in order to recover the compensation they need and deserve for their injuries and the resulting hardships.
It is important to remember that the outcome of any criminal proceedings against the drunk driver has no affect on the viability and outcome of a civil case against them.
Contact a Monmouth County Drunk Driving Injury Attorney Today
At The Law Office of Chamlin, Rosen, Uliano & Witherington, our attorneys have extensive experience handling drunk driving cases of all kinds across Red Bank, Freehold, Wall, West Long Branch, and the greater Monmouth County area.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to the reckless actions of a drunk driver, or an irresponsible bar or tavern owner, it is important that you recover the compensation you need and deserve for those injuries, including medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.
To schedule a free and confidential consultation regarding your potential civil case against a drunk driver, please contact us online or through our West Long Branch office today at 732-440-3950.