Criminal Auto Cases: 5 Facts You'll Need to Know Before Your Court Date
Are you headed to court for an auto-related criminal case? If so, it can be a nerve-racking experience, especially if you have no idea what to expect or walk into that courtroom unprepared.
Here are five fast and essential facts you should understand before your court date rolls around.
- What constitutes a criminal auto case?
These are a few reasons you could end up facing criminal auto-related charges:
- Diving when your license has been suspended
- Violations of your commercial driver’s license
- Leaving the accident scene
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Vehicular theft - driving someone else’s vehicle without permission
- Assaulting (injuring) someone with a vehicle
- Vehicular homicide – death of someone in the accident
Actual charges may differ by state. Many law offices will offer you free confidential consultations for initial discussion of your concerns regarding a criminal charge. If you’re in Connecticut, for example, you can consider reaching out to Duffy Law LLC for some advice.
- You can face both criminal and civil charges
Anyone who was injured in the incident can file a lawsuit against you seeking personal injury damages. You must be aware that a very vital piece of evidence in their case against you will be the police accident report which will detail any negligence on your part.
A guilty verdict on a criminal auto charge can be used as contributing proof that you are liable for the civil personal injury charges brought against you.
- Penalties may include fines, jail time and more
Punishment in a criminal auto case will vary depending on the charge and the state in which the offence occurred. Aside from monetary fines and jail time, other possible penalties include suspension of your license and having an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in your vehicle once the suspension is lifted. Penalties tend to become stiffer for repeated offences.
- Civil liability may still stand after you are cleared of criminal charges
It is possible for you to be freed of the criminal charges which were brought against you but still be found guilty in the civil courts. If someone injured in the accident is able to prove you were at fault AND the accident led to their injury, then you could end up paying both compensatory and punitive damages to that person.
- It is wise to seek professional legal representation
The steps involved in court proceedings may be difficult for someone not trained in law to understand. By hiring an attorney, you will have someone who is able to break it all down for you to grasp.
Furthermore, he or she will be able to use their experience and knowledge of the laws in your state to wade through the different stages of the case and work to ensure your rights are protected throughout.
The best takeaway is to seriously consider using an expert – someone who knows the system, what to expect and how to handle it all. Whether or not you do hire a professional, keep these points in mind so you come out as unscathed as possible from your auto-related court case.