California’s DUI laws can be complex and confusing. In this section, our attorneys break down the rules and explain the process.
DUI » Is a drunk driver automatically at fault for an accident in California?
Driving drunk is a violation of California traffic laws. But just because someone was driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, the drunk driver is NOT automatically at fault for an accident.
In California, someone is at fault for a vehicle accident when:
It is illegal to drive under the influence in California. But to be held responsible for an accident, a DUI driver must have done something negligent or unlawful in addition to driving drunk or stoned.
For instance, the drunk driver may have been:
Under California’s comparative negligence law, more than one person may be at fault for an accident.
This law (also known as California’s “shared fault” law) lets people recover personal injury damages even when they are partly to blame for an accident.
Driving drunk can affect someone’s ability to avoid an accident. But just because someone’s reaction time was slowed by drugs and/or alcohol, that doesn’t let the other driver off the hook.
If another driver violated a legal duty, that driver may be at least partially at fault if an accident results.
It is possible to defend a car accident claim even if you were drunk or stoned.
The key is not to prove that you were not DUI (although that can help). The best way for a DUI driver to fight an accident claim in California is to prove that:
This is useful in defending against both:
If you have been accused of causing an accident in California, we invite you to contact us at 855-LawFirm to discuss your criminal or civil case.
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.
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