Motorcycling is always going to involve an elevated level of risk, but that risk is compounded when alcohol and drugs are added to the equation. Getting involved in a DUI motorcycle accident is sadly not as rare as it ought to be. In spite of California law and numerous PSAs and awareness campaigns, irresponsible drivers persist in endangering others through drink-driving. Drunk drivers have impaired judgment and slower reaction times, which is a bad combination that poses a deadly threat to motorcycle riders. In 2017, 10,874 people were killed by drunk drivers in the United States. The most prominent demographic of drunk drivers are men aged 21-24, then men aged 25-34. Altogether these demographics constitute 53% of all drunk drivers.

Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys® is ready and able to represent riders throughout Northern and Southern California. If you or a loved one were injured in a drunk driving motorcycle accident, our law firm’s team of experienced attorneys have a superlative success rate fighting cases. We get our clients the compensation they need to rebuild their lives after accidents.

DUI Victims Los Angeles

What constitutes drunk driving, exactly? It depends on several factors. Driving under the influence (DUI) constitutes driving with a blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, of 0.08% or higher. However, any driver under 21 with any amount of alcohol in their blood systems is considered to be driving under the influence. What’s more, commercial drivers (i.e. truckers) must have a BAC of less than 0.04% to be considered safe to drive. It is also illegal to operate any motor vehicle while impaired by illegal or recreational drugs, prescription medications, or over-the-counter medications. Unfortunately, in spite of the sizable fees a DUI arrest can incur, and possible jail time, a sizable number of people still choose to drive drunk or similarly impaired.

By California law, all drivers have a duty of care to not injure others while operating a motor vehicle. If you are hit by a drunk driver, they can be held liable for the pain and suffering, lost wages and other victim impacting factors the collision caused. They will also be subject to criminal punishment for their actions. The severity of these can vary based on certain factors.

Common Punishments for DUIs in California

Unlike most crimes, simply being lawfully arrested for DUI can lead to substantial administrative consequences. License suspension and fees are usually where things start. Conviction of DUI will lead to substantial additional penalties.

The agency that makes the arrest on suspicion of DUI will confiscate the driver’s license and issue an ‘Order of Suspension/Revocation’ and temporary license. The license is valid for 30 days from issue. After it expires, the Order of Suspension/Revocation goes into effect. Drivers have the option to fight the license suspension but must request a DMV hearing within ten calendar days of their receipt of the Order of Suspension/Revocation. If a driver refuses to submit to a chemical test, their license will automatically be suspended for a year, after their temporary license has expired. This occurs regardless of further criminal case actions.

If the chemical test is positive (i.e. a BAC of 0.08% or more), the DMV will suspend the driver’s license for a period of 4 months. After a 30 day ‘hard suspension’ the driver may be eligible for a restricted license. This allows the driver to drive to, from, and for work. It also requires enrolment in a DUI program, proof of insurance, and a license reissue fee of $125. First offenders will be given the option of a 12-month restricted license, which requires an ignition interlock device (IID) for driving to and from essential locations such as work and school, or a maximum six-month IID requirement after license reinstatement. IID installation and maintenance is at the offender’s expense.

Usually, the first conviction for DUI in California constitutes a misdemeanor. Motorists found guilty can pay between $390 and $1000 in fines, in addition to a penalty assessment for a minimum of several thousand dollars. Even a first offender can sometimes be sentenced to between two days and six months in jail. However, if probation is granted, which is likely, the jail sentence is not required. Probation will typically be between three and five years. The conditions of probation generally amount to the offender not driving with any alcohol in their system at all, submitting to any roadside alcohol testing required by an officer, and refraining from any law violations.

Hit by Drunk Driver Lawsuit

The driver who caused a drunk driving accident can be held liable in both criminal and civil proceedings. Do not worry if the at-fault driver is not convicted, you may still have a valid claim in a civil proceeding. This is because the burden of proof in a civil case is lower than in a criminal DUI case. If the drunk driver is convicted of DUI, you may be awarded punitive damages which serve to punish that driver’s reckless and criminal behavior. It also serves the cause of public safety, as an added disincentive to other drivers to do the same. If a loved one is killed in a motorcycle or car accident by a drunk driver, surviving family members are able to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. If successful, they would be entitled to recover damages for medical bills that were accrued prior to the death, as well as funeral expenses, lost future income, property damage, mental anguish, and loss of care or services.

Unfortunately, as with many vehicle accidents, these cases generally involve insurance companies. These companies protect their profits by hiring teams of experienced lawyers and claims adjusters to argue down attempts to claim compensation. If, as is likely, the insurance company fails to offer a reasonable settlement, or refuses to negotiate in good faith, it may be advisable to file an official lawsuit. The lawyers of Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys® will endeavor to secure the full value of your claim for you, including potential future medical or financial needs relating to the accident.

Russ Brown Can Get You Your Compensation

Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys® handle our motorcycle accident cases on a contingency basis. Essentially, it means that you do not pay attorney’s fees until we win your case. If you have been the victim of a DUI motorcycle accident in California within the last two years, we are your number one option. We are a law firm of motorcycle riders, who have specialized in motorcycle accident law for over 40 years. Our founder, Russ Brown, invented the field of motorcycle accident law and we have labored to iterate and improve on the trail he blazed when he began our company in 1975. Even today, prejudice against riders persists among individuals in the law enforcement and legal professions. Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys® protects riders and ensures that they can regain some peace of mind after enduring accidents. With our wealth of experience and exceptional success rates, we can prevent insurance companies from taking advantage of injured motorcyclists. Our success rate in cases we’ve been retained in is 98%. That’s an incredibly high rate, which reflects the excellence we have worked for over decades in our calling. Choose Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys®: We Ride. We Care. We Win. Call us today on 1-800-424-5377, so we can get your case under way.