Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicating substances is a criminal offense under Georgia Code § 40-6-391. Drunk driving laws were passed largely to discourage people from operating motor vehicles after drinking alcoholic beverages in hopes of possibly reducing and preventing the number of injuries resulting from accidents caused by intoxicated drivers.
Drunk driving accidents frequently involve extremely serious injuries. When a negligent driver is convicted of DUI following an auto accident in Georgia, it is important for injured victims to understand that multiple parties may be liable for the numerous damages resulting from a drunk driving collision.
If you suffered catastrophic injuries or your loved one was killed as the result of an accident in Georgia caused by a drunk driver, it will be in your best interest to seek legal representation as soon as possible. Marcus A. Roberts & Associates represents clients injured in auto accidents all over Fulton County, Clayton County, DeKalb County, Cobb County, and Gwinnett County.
Atlanta personal injury lawyer Marcus A. Roberts can fight to help you obtain compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other types of long-term personal harm. Call 404-577-4444 right now to have our attorney review your case and help you understand all of your legal options during a free initial consultation.
If a driver who caused an automobile collision in Georgia has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher, he or she will be charged with DUI. Convictions for drunk driving offenses involving BACs of 0.08 or more are commonly referred to as “per se” (Latin for “by itself” or “in itself”) DUI offenses because any BAC that exceeds the legal limits imposed by state law is considered prima facie (Latin for “at first look,” or “on its face”) evidence of intoxication.
In addition to the criminal penalties a drunk driver can face if convicted, his or her criminal case can also be used as evidence of per se negligence for civil actions such as personal injury lawsuits. People who sustain serious injuries or whose loved ones are killed because of drunk drivers may be entitled to both compensatory damages and punitive damages (also called exemplary damages). Compensatory damages include:
Punitive damages are only awarded in cases in which an offender’s conduct was particularly egregious or malicious, and drunk driving accidents are actually an exception to the caps that ordinarily placed on such damages. Whereas punitive damage awards are typically limited to a maximum of $250,000, such caps do not apply in drunk driving cases, and juries can award even larger amounts.
The liquid measurement that was used for small amounts of liquor in colonial times was called a dram, resulting in establishments that sell alcoholic beverages being referred to as dram shops in legal terminology. Georgia is among the states in the nation that have so-called dram shop laws which allow establishments that sell alcoholic beverages to be held liable for the sale of alcohol to visibly intoxicated people who then injure or kill another person.
Georgia Code § 51-1-40(b) establishes that a “person who willfully, knowingly, and unlawfully sells, furnishes, or serves alcoholic beverages to a person who is not of lawful drinking age, knowing that such person will soon be driving a motor vehicle, or who knowingly sells, furnishes, or serves alcoholic beverages to a person who is in a state of noticeable intoxication, knowing that such person will soon be driving a motor vehicle, may become liable for injury or damage caused by or resulting from the intoxication of such minor or person when the sale, furnishing, or serving is the proximate cause of such injury or damage.”
The same state law also applies to “social host” claims, which are similar to dram shop claims in that a third party bears liability for serving alcohol to a minor or visibly intoxicated person, but the third party is usually a private property owner rather than a commercial establishment. In both dram shop and social host cases, injury victims can be entitled to compensation from negligent parties if they can prove that the drunk driver who causes a motor vehicle crash was served alcohol when he or she was a minor or visibly intoxicated and the party who served the alcoholic beverage knew that the motorist was going to be driving.
Nighthawks DUI Task Force | Georgia Department of Public Safety (GDPS) — The Nighthawks Task Force are the most highly trained DUI law enforcement officers in Georgia who patrol Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties during peak DUI related hours. The program is funded by a grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. Visit this section of the GDPS website to learn more about the history of the Nighthawks Task Force.Georgia Department of Public Safety
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) | Georgia State Office — MADD is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with roughly 600 chapters nationwide. On this website, you can learn more about the organization’s Georgia chapter. You can also find information about upcoming events, view statistics related to drunk driving, and read recent news.MADD Georgia State Office
Did you sustain serious injuries or was your loved one killed in a crash caused by a driver charged with DUI in Georgia? Do not sign any paperwork or speak to any insurance agents without legal counsel. Contact Marcus A. Roberts & Associates today.
Marcus A. Roberts is an experienced personal injury attorney in Atlanta who helps residents of and visitors to communities in Fulton County, Gwinnett County, DeKalb County, Clayton County, and Cobb County. You can have our lawyer provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call 404-577-4444 or submit an online contact form to receive a free, no obligation consultation.