We’ve seen several car accident cases become criminal cases in our years serving clients as Middletown auto accident lawyers. When an accident happens, there are two likely legal implications. One is the criminal aspect, and the other is civil. Most people assume a traffic violation automatically means a criminal charge, but it doesn’t work that way.
While a faulting driver and even a victim may get cited for a traffic violation following an accident, it does not mean they’ll face criminal charges. What determines the presence of a criminal charge is the conduct of the liable party before and after the accident. This article looks at when a Middletown car accident case becomes a criminal case.
If you or anyone you know suffer injuries in a traffic collision, contact our injury attorneys at Aeton Law Partners. We will examine the facts to see if you have a valid claim and commence the process to get you maximum compensation.
Four Instances When a Car Accident in Middletown Becomes a Criminal Case
In a car accident, the fault party is the person who faces a criminal charge. Below are four instances where an accident case would turn criminal.
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Driving Under the Influence
Drunk driving accidents are not uncommon in Middletown. Like in other parts of the United States, drunk drivers are a menace on the road. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2016, 10,497 people died from crashes involving a drunk driver. This number accounted for 28% of all traffic-related deaths in the U.S.
Under Connecticut law, which Middletown follows, driving a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a crime. The law states that adult drivers must keep their blood alcohol level below 0.08%. An alcohol number from that level and above would amount to driving while impaired.
Generally, this offense is punishable with jail time, a fine, or both. The offender might also face license suspension. However, where there is an accident with severe bodily injury or death, the victim would face vehicular assault or vehicular manslaughter to the second degree. Both offenses carry prison time, usually between two and ten years, in addition to fines.
Hit and Run
When a person flees a crash scene and fails to report the crash or surrender to the police afterward, the accident becomes a hit-and-run. Under Connecticut laws, a person involved in a car accident that causes severe injuries or death must remain at the scene. In addition, the driver must provide assistance and their name, address, license, and registration information.
Failure to do this is a severe offense, and the driver faces between one year to ten years in prison. In addition, the hit-and-run driver will pay a fine of up to $10,000. If you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you should immediately contact a Middletown car accident lawyer.
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Reckless driving is also a crime under Connecticut law. Thus a driver who causes an accident while driving recklessly will face a criminal charge. Connecticut reckless driving laws describe a reckless driver as one who drives erratically because of cell phone use, eating, or other distracting behavior.
Additionally, the totality of the circumstances involving the driver would likely be taken into consideration. The punishment for this offense is a payment of a fine and up to one-year imprisonment, but it would be steeper in the event of death or severe injury.
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In Middletown, a person would face one of the following vehicular manslaughter charges:
- Manslaughter in the first degree where under circumstances evincing an extreme indifference to human life, a driver recklessly engages in conduct that creates a grave risk of death.
- Manslaughter in the second degree where a driver recklessly causes the death of another person. It doesn’t require circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life.
- Manslaughter in the second degree with a motor vehicle when the driver drove under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Misconduct with a motor vehicle when there’s criminal negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle. Criminal negligence entails failing to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk of accidentally causing someone’s death.
- Negligent homicide with a motor vehicle where due to negligent operation of a motor vehicle, a driver causes someone’s death.
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The presence of a criminal case against the fault driver does not stop you from getting damages for your injuries and losses in an accident. As such, you should get expert legal representation.
This and years of winning for our clients are what we offer you at Injured CT. So contact us today for a free case review.