Drunk or intoxicated driverAccording to a report published by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, in 2014, about 37,875 people were involved in accidents involving alcohol.

These are the injury statistics for those people.

  • 4,216 experienced non-capacitating injuries
  • 2,200 had incapacitating injuries
  • 859 lost their lives

The statistics become even more concerning when the number of persons injured or killed in car accidents involving other drugs is included. All told, about 1,451 people died because of intoxicated drivers. If you or a loved one was involved in an accident with a drunk or intoxicated driver and sustained serious injuries, call the Montero Law Center at 954-767-6500 to learn your legal options. We offer potential clients a free initial consultation.

Florida’s Drunk Driving Laws

Florida is a relatively progressive state when it comes to punishing intoxicated drivers. Like most states, drivers cannot have a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) over 0.08. Drivers under 21 years old cannot operate vehicles with BACs over 0.02, and commercial drivers cannot have 0.04 BAC. While these BAC levels are comparable to those of other states, Florida’s penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs are rather stiff compared to most states.

First-time offenders face these repercussions:

  • Six to nine months of jail time;
  • $500 to $2,000 in fines; and
  • A suspended license for 180 days to one year.

A second offense increases penalties significantly:

  • Nine months to one year in jail;
  • $1,000 to $4,000 in fines; and
  • Suspended license for five years (although this can get reduced to one year).

A third offense means guilty drivers face these penalties:

  • Up to one year in jail;
  • $2,000 to $5,000 in fines; and
  • Suspended licenses for ten years (this can get reduced to two).

Florida has also taken an important step by letting judges force guilty drivers to install interlock ignition devices on their cars to prevent them from driving while intoxicated. Even first-time offenders may need to follow this order.

Problems Frequently Caused by Drunk or Intoxicated Drivers

Intoxicated drivers are more likely to break rules than sober drivers. Depending on the driver’s level of intoxication, he or she may do the following.

  • Fall asleep at the wheel
  • Drive at excessively fast speeds
  • Misinterpret road signs because of blurred vision
  • Turn the wrong way onto highways and one-way streets
  • Collide with traffic barriers, trees, telephone poles, or private property

Inebriated people also have slow reaction times that make it difficult for them to avoid accidents. A study completed by the United Kingdom’s Transport Research Authority shows that drunk drivers have reaction times that are 10 to 30 percent slower than sober drivers. Any unexpected change in traffic can increase a drunk driver’s chance of having an accident.

Seeking Compensation After Being Hit by a Drunk Driver

It’s necessary for the victims of intoxicated drivers to understand the difference between criminal and civil courts. A criminal court will determine whether the driver is guilty of operating a vehicle under the influence. This court’s judge will decide what type of punishment the person faces if convicted. A criminal court conviction does not mean that victims will receive any form of compensation.

To get compensated for property damage, medical treatments, and lost wages, you must file a suit in civil court. The judge presiding over your case will determine how much compensation you deserve.

Hire a Fort Lauderdale Auto Accident Lawyer

Having an experienced lawyer on your side can make a big difference when filing a civil suit.  Montero Law has years of experience helping drunk driving victims get the compensation they deserve.

The precise amount that you get from the intoxicated driver will depend on how the auto accident affected you financially. If you only sustained a minor injury that did not require a hospital visit, then it’s possible that you will not receive any compensation. If, however, you had to seek medical attention or lost wages because injuries prevented you from working, then there is a good chance that the judge will award you some financial compensation.

Without an experienced lawyer on your side, it is often very difficult to secure the compensation that helps you recover financially so call (954) 767-6500 to contact Montero Law today.