Drunk Driving Accidents
California Has Strict Drunk Driving Laws
In California, drunk driving laws are strict. Our DUI laws prohibit persons from operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. In addition, our state has a “zero tolerance” law for drivers under the age of 18. Further, repeat offenders and drivers under the age of 21 will be deemed impaired with a BAC of 0.01%. Lastly, a driver of a vehicle requiring a commercial driver license may not drive with a BAC of 0.04% or higher.
Drunk driving accidents in California are the cause of thousands of deaths each year. At Allegiance Law, our drunk driving accident attorneys are well-versed in establishing liability against the intoxicated driver and will pursue the maximum damages on your behalf.
Additional Damages May Be Available If You Are Hit By A Drunk Driver
Generally, in an auto accident, the injured party is only entitled to receive their monetary damages and an award for pain and suffering. These damages consist of past and future medical expenses, as well as lost wages and loss of earning capacity, and pain and suffering. However, if an intoxicated driver strikes you or your vehicle, you may be entitled to an award of punitive damages against the intoxicated driver.
California Civil Code §3294 is the underlying statute that entitles an injured party to seek punitive damages. CCC §3294 gives a plaintiff the right to seek such damages where: “the defendant has been guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice.” In the case of Taylor v. Superior Court (1979) 24 Cal.3d 890, 892, the test was articulated for a sufficient allegation of malice in drunk driving cases so as to support a claim for punitive damages. In Taylor, the Court stated, “…the act of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated may constitute an act of “malice” under [Civil Code] section 3294 if performed under circumstances which disclose a conscious disregard of the probable dangerous consequences.”
Driving A Vehicle While Intoxicated Is A Punishable Offense:
California Vehicle Code § 23152a makes it misdemeanor to drive a vehicle when a person is “under the influence” of alcohol. The code states “it is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle.”
Intoxication Is Not A Defense:
An intoxicated party may not excuse his inability to operate a motor vehicle on the grounds that he was intoxicated. If you are impaired with liquor and chose to drive a vehicle, you may not attempt to then excuse your accident by stating, “it would not have happened if I had not been drinking.” Yates v. Morotti (1932) 120 Cal. App. 710.
If you were involved in an accident and injured by a drunk driver, please call an experienced drunk driving accident attorney at Allegiance Law and schedule a free consultation.
You may contact Allegiance Law, experienced drunk driving accident attorneys, at (415) 404-6395. Or you may contact us by filling out the client inquiry form on this page.