Fall River Drunk Driving Accidents
In 2017, citing data from the national Fatality Analysis Reporting System, the US Department of Transportation found that one drunk driving-related fatality occurs in the United States about every 48 minutes. Rhode Island, in particular, has a high percentage (43% of all traffic fatalities) of traffic fatalities involving alcohol impairment.
Law enforcement officers in Fall River often detect, or are contacted about, drivers who exhibit signs of drunk driving, such as failure to maintain their lane. Often, though, law enforcement officers come to the scene after an accident has happened and discover that the driver has a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 percent or higher.
Therefore, if you are involved in a car accident and you have a BAC that’s .08 percent or higher, you may be charged with a DWI, arrested, and face the serious consequences of a drunk driving charge, even if you have no prior record of driving while intoxicated (DWI) or drunk driving.
The consequences for a drunk driving conviction vary by charge. The following actions can be taken alone, or in combination with each other, for a drunk driving conviction:
- Driver’s license suspension. Driver’s licenses can be suspended for between 30 and 180 days for a first offense with a BAC level between .08 and .10. For higher BAC levels, driver’s licenses can be revoked for up to four years.
- Depending on the severity of your charges, these may run anywhere from $100 to $5,000.
- Rehabilitation program enrollment. These programs are designed to help drivers to avoid committing a second drunk driving offense.
- Community service. You may be charged with 10 to 60 hours of community service.
- BAC level measurement. These devices, which are worn on the ankles, are designed to prevent drivers with multiple offenses from driving while intoxicated.
- Ignition interlock. These devices require that the driver do a breathalyzer test before trying to start the car. If the driver’s BAC is .08 or higher, the vehicle will not start. Ignition interlocks are usually mandatory for drivers with several prior drunk driving convictions.
- Vehicle forfeiture. The vehicle is considered evidence in a crime and ownership is transferred from the driver to the state or local government. This can happen in extreme cases after multiple convictions.
- Imprisonment. Drivers can be sentenced to up to 20 years of jail time for causing death or serious bodily injury to another person. First-time offenders with a BAC between .08 and .10 may be imprisoned for up to 1 year.
These penalties depend on a number of factors, such as:
- Whether this is your first offense for a DWI or DUI. Even on your first conviction, you can be charged with 12 months of jail time and 18 months of license suspension. Depending on the other factors listed below, you will experience more severe consequences with multiple DWI or DUI arrests.
- Whether you are above the legal drinking age when you commit the crime. A Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge is given to drivers in Fall River who are younger than 21, with a BAC between .02 and .08 percent. A first-offense DUI may be punishable by a license suspension for up to one year, a fine between $100 and $400, 10-60 hours of community service, and counseling.
- Whether you drive a passenger or commercial vehicle. Commercial vehicle drivers, including Rhode Island school bus drivers, are subject to arrest with lower blood alcohol levels than passenger drivers, with a limit of .04 percent.
- Whether you were involved in a drunk driving accident that resulted in the serious bodily injury or death of another person. These factors elevate the level of charges that you may be convicted of if found guilty.
- Whether a passenger under 13 years old was in the car at the time of the arrest. Having a child in the car endangers their life and can increase the severity of the consequences.
The consequences for a DWI and DUI are always serious, and may be severe, depending on the situation and factors, which are evaluated by the court. The prosecution in any case must prove two key elements: that you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol and that you were operating a motor vehicle while impaired.
Why Do I Need an Attorney?
An attorney is tasked to prove that either element–the act of driving or the presence of drugs or alcohol–did not take place in order to prove a driver’s innocence of a DUI or DWI charge, or to lessen the severity of the charges.
An attorney can do this by proving that the car was not running, or that the driver was standing outside of the car or asleep when the police arrived.
An attorney will also be well-versed in the nuances that may make the prosecution’s case stronger or weaker, and will be able to adjust their argument accordingly.
They can use things like technical issues associated with breathalyzer analyses, procedures required of law enforcement officers, the driver’s right to refuse a blood alcohol test, and the legality of sobriety security checkpoints.
Each of these factors depends on the location where the incident took place and the state’s laws governing your case. You should not attempt to fight a DWI or DUI charge on your own without knowledge of the potential consequences that may apply to your case or the arguments that might mitigate those consequences.
Securing the guidance of a knowledgeable and experienced attorney is one of the most important things you can do after a drunk driving accident.
Why Should I Choose the Law Offices of Ronald J. Resmini, LTD.?
In 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) National Center for Statistics and Analysis, Rhode Island had the third-highest percentage (41%) of drunk-driving related crashes in the United States. Only the District of Columbia at 51% and Connecticut at 43% were higher.
Therefore, to meet the increased need for drunk driving legal representation, several Fall River area law firms offer legal services to drivers who have been in drunk driving accidents.
However, although there are more attorneys to choose from, not all legal representation is of the same quality and not all attorneys have the extensive experience to adequately represent their clients in court.
The Law Offices of Ronald J. Resmini, LTD. stands out because we do specialize in alcohol-related crashes, and we have both the depth of knowledge and experience that is needed to secure a less severe or not-guilty verdict in a DUI or DWI case.
We are a family-run firm that has served the needs of residents in Rhode Island, Washington D.C., and parts of Massachusetts for over 50 years.
With decades of experience in dealing with drunk driving cases, we also have deep empathy for our clients’ plight and emotional distress.
We understand that accidents happen. We want to make sure that you can resume a normal life with as few burdensome fines, jail time, and suspensions as possible.
The Law Offices of Ronald J. Resmini, LTD. understands that, in the wake of an alcohol-impaired accident, the financial stress of the situation can be hard to bear, which is why we offer all of our services completely free of charge until we win your case. We are confident that we can secure you a satisfactory outcome.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration compiled statistics between 2014 and 2017 related to car accidents and reports of drunk driving that illustrate the how often alcohol impairment is the culprit in Rhode Island’s traffic crashes and fatalities Some of the statistics include the following facts:
- In 2016, almost 300,000 people were injured in drunk driving crashes across the nation. The Rhode Island Strategic Highway Safety Plan noted that between 2011 and 2015, that alcohol impairment accounted for 39% of vehicle crash fatalities in the state.
- In 2017, 24% alcohol-related vehicle crash deaths in Rhode Island involved drivers with a BAC level higher than .15, almost more than double the legal limit. This suggests that the higher the BAC, the more likely a vehicle accident will result in at least one fatality.
- Between the years of 2011 and 2015, drivers between the ages of 25 and 34 accounted for 27% of fatal drunk driving crashes in Rhode Island. These cases are some of the most sobering, as they involve young people who should have had their whole lives ahead of them, but those lives were cut short by driving while intoxicated.
- In the state of Rhode Island, nearly 700,000 people will be affected by drunk driving within their lifetimes. Across America, 66% of the population is directly involved or impacted by the effects of a drunk driving vehicle accident.
These statistics point to the prevalence of drunk driving across America, and especially in Rhode Island. The Fall River area is no different, and our drivers experience a lot of incidents involving alcohol impairment.
You should never drive after drinking. Instead, let someone who hasn’t been drinking drive or take a cab home. The consequences of what may seem like a harmless short drive home can be devastating for you and other drivers on the road.
Contact the Law Offices of Ronald J. Resmini, LTD. Today
If you have been affected by an accident involving alcohol-impaired driving, the most important step is to secure an established attorney to fight for you. The Law Offices of Ronald J. Resmini, LTD. brings almost six decades of experience, compassion, and dedication to each of our cases.
Call us today at (508) 491-1025 to discuss your case and let us take the weight of the case off your shoulders. Our consultations are free of charge and can be scheduled online, through our live chat, or over the phone.