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Montgomery County DUI Accident Investigations

To prove that a Montgomery County driver who was involved in a car accident committed a DUI, some type of investigation usually occurs. The responding officer at the accident scene will file a police report, and from there the DUI investigation may continue with a BAC test at a police station, questioning of the defendant, and other tactics. In certain cases, an insurance company or another plaintiff may also conduct a civil investigation to determine if a driver is financially liable for the injuries of the other party involved in the accident.

Investigating at the Scene of an Accident

When an officer responds to the scene of an auto accident, they speak to each of the parties in the crash. If an officer believes a driver is impaired, even if they are not the at-fault party in the accident, the officer may begin to ask questions to determine whether the driver was impaired by alcohol or under the influence at the time of the crash.

Officers treat investigations of a suspicious accident in the same way they would treat a traffic stop that progresses into a DUI stop. The police officer questions whether the person was drinking and may offer them field sobriety tests. In some cases, the officer might arrest the driver and administer a more formal Intoximeter test at a police station.

Types of Impairment Tests

A driver suspected of intoxication may take a field sobriety test in front of an officer at the scene of an accident. Possible tests include:

  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus test
  • Walk-and-turn test
  • One-legged stand test

If the person is injured, they are offered medical treatment and may be given a horizontal gaze nystagmus test because it does not require physical exertion or activity. After the horizontal gaze nystagmus test is complete, the person is given an opportunity to participate in a blood test or a breathalyzer test.

Officers in Montgomery County use a machine called the ECIR II, which is an Intoximeter machine that measures the alcohol concentration in a person’s breath.

Related Criminal and Civil Investigations

A party involved in a DUI accident who was hit by a drunk driver may inform their insurance company that the driver of the other vehicle might have been under the influence of alcohol at the time. Civil lawsuits could be enhanced based on the fact that a person was impaired by alcohol. Ramifications of a civil claim might take the form of restitution or punitive damages imposed on someone’s insurance company.

In most civil cases involving DUI allegations, an insurance company or another plaintiff will seek evidence to prove negligence on the part of the allegedly intoxicated driver. Police reports, witness testimony, and BAC test results may all be important evidence in a civil case. In some cases, however, a plaintiff may seek additional evidence to prove a personal injury claim, including testimony from expert witnesses.

How a DUI Attorney Could Help

An attorney should always keep the possibility of a civil accident investigation in mind when reaching a resolution for a Montgomery County DUI. The objective is to minimize the damage a criminal case may cause to the defendant’s job, financial circumstances, and personal life. An experienced criminal defense lawyer could make sure that their client understands the impact of a civil claim and develop a strategy that does not expose a defendant to personal injury liability.