Drunk driving is a serious safety issue throughout Denver and the State of Colorado. It’s one of the top causes of serious injuries and wrongful deaths. What comes to issue is that drunk driving crashes are perfectly preventable too.
Colorado DUI Law
Colorado’s DUI law prohibits a person from driving a vehicle if he or she is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. When driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .05 to .07, a permissible influence arises that he or she was impaired by alcohol. Anything from .08 and above raises a permissible inference that the driver was under the influence of alcohol. A permissible inference also arises that a driver was under the influence of drugs if blood testing shows 5 nanograms or more of delta-9 THC which is the active substance in marijuana. The problem for injured victims of drunk drivers is that a DUI conviction doesn’t operate to compensate for the injuries and damages that they suffered.
The Civil Case for Damages
According to our Ready Law Colorado Personal Injury Lawyer, criminal courts can’t award that compensation, so victims must pursue it through the civil courts in a personal injury lawsuit. Aside from DUI, it’s highly likely that another offense was charged, even if it was something as simple as making an illegal left turn. A violation of Colorado’s left turn law can also be used to show negligence in a personal injury case.
The Burden of Proof
A driver can actually be found not guilty in a DUI case but guilty in a personal injury case arising from the same facts and evidence. That’s because there are different burdens of proof in criminal and civil cases. In a criminal case, the prosecution must prove that the driver was drunk beyond a reasonable doubt. In the civil case, that driver needs only be proved guilty of negligence by a preponderance of the evidence. What that means is that the injured driver’s version of events was more likely true than not true.
The Award of Damages
Assuming the allegedly intoxicated driver is found at fault in the civil case, a jury can award damages to the person claiming injury. Those damages might consist of medical bills, lost earnings, pain, and suffering, any permanent disfigurement or disability, or diminished enjoyment of life. Other substantial damages can be awarded in a case involving wrongful death. In either case, punitive damages might also be awarded.
Driving while intoxicated, high, or a combination of the two is unlawful in Colorado or anywhere else in the United States. It’s perfectly preventable too. People can take an Uber, a Lyft, or a taxi to wherever they’re going to and home again. Prevent the chance of a tragedy occurring, and don’t get behind the wheel while under the influence of anything.