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DUI and the Accident Report

  • May 24, 2017

    In any situation in which a driver is pulled over because a law enforcement officer suspects that he or she is driving under the influence, the officer has to fill out an incident report that includes details about the situation. In the event that there is a crash involving the accused driver, a separate accident report will be filled out. The information in this report can be incredibly important for your Los Angeles DUI attorney to look at when handling your case.

    What is an Accident Report?

    When there is a vehicle collision, multiple different law enforcement officers often show up to the scene to handle the case. In general, one or more officers will usually be expected to handle the DUI investigation if any of the drivers who were involved in the collision are suspected to be driving under the influence. In the meantime, another officer or group of officers will do a collision analysis.

    Unlike in a situation in which a law enforcement officer witnesses someone driving suspiciously and then pulls him or her over for a suspected DUI, officers often do not witness who is driving or what happened when a DUI collision occurs. Instead, since they generally arrive after the fact, officers then have to do an investigation, such as by talking to witnesses or looking at evidence, to determine who was driving and what caused the accident. This is important for a few reasons; not only do officers have to make a determination about whether or not someone should be charged criminally for driving under the influence, but it’s also important for fault information to be obtained for insurance and civil liability reasons.

    Accident investigations are performed by law enforcement officers who have specialized training in this field. They interview any witnesses who might have been involved or who might have seen what happened, examine the vehicles that were involved, look for property damage and take various measurements to get an idea of who was driving and why the collision occurred. They will then draw out a diagram, write up a report and turn this report in. Later on, if a driver is arrested for a DUI, his or her Los Angeles DUI attorney will be given a copy of the accident report.

    In most cases, the information in the accident report will be more related to the accident rather than the DUI itself. This means that there typically will not be information related to blood-alcohol content or field sobriety test results. Instead, this information is generally included in a separate DUI report that will also be turned in and that the defense counsel will also have access to.

    What Do Lawyers Do With Accident Reports?

    First of all, it is important to understand that if you have been charged with a DUI that was related to a vehicle accident, the situation is much more serious than if you had been charged with a DUI alone. Prosecuting attorneys and judges often take DUI collisions incredibly seriously, and you could face greater penalties than if you had simply been arrested for a DUI.

    This is one of the reasons why your lawyer will work hard to build a case for you, and he or she may use the accident report to help. For example, your attorney might bring in an accident reconstruction expert. One of these individuals will look over the accident report, look for any potential errors that may have been made by law enforcement and explain that things might have happened differently than what is listed in the actual accident report.

    If you have recently been involved in a DUI collision, now is the time to seek representation. If you contact us, we can set you up with a team of Los Angeles DUI lawyers to provide you with the best possible defense in your situation.

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