Minneapolis, MN – Drunk driving is a problem both nationally and throughout the state of Minnesota. Anyone who is charged and convicted of this offense will face serious penalties including fines, loss of their driver’s license, and possible jail time. However, some drunk drivers cause collisions with others on the road before they can be detected and prosecuted. A victim of the intoxicated driver may be able to both assist the state in their criminal prosecution and file a civil case to receive compensation for their injuries and property repairs.
Evidence of drunk driving
The state does a number of things to collect evidence and prove that a driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol while operating any type of motor vehicle. A police officer may initially observe the driver’s movements on the road and their driving pattern. After the traffic stop, they will make some observations about the suspect’s condition, appearance, and even the way they speak. This is because people who are intoxicated often exhibit certain telltale behaviors. The police also have a formal process to investigate the suspect further, which includes physical exercises at the scene and a chemical test of breath, blood, or urine to detect the presence of alcohol of controlled substances. The results of the chemical test are introduced during a criminal case as one of the main forms of evidence to prove the actual presence of drugs or alcohol while driving.
Using evidence of intoxicated driving in a civil case
While civil and criminal cases related to a drunk driving incident are handled separately, some of the state’s evidence of intoxicated driving may also be relevant in civil negligence action. If the defendant was clearly under the influence, this may prove that they breached their standard duty of care on the roads. However, the breach of the duty of care while driving is only one element of negligence. The other elements of negligence still need to be shown in the civil case for the plaintiff to be successful.
Because of the burden of proving a civil negligence case separately from the criminal action, it is important for the accident victim to retain their own lawyer. The attorney for the plaintiff needs to show all of the elements of negligence to the jury or be skilled enough to negotiate a settlement agreement that will pay most or all of the victim’s costs. After a severe collision, the victim can require long term medical treatment, miss time from work, and lose their ability to earn their prior income.
Contacting an attorney after a collision with an intoxicated driver
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