While a DUI conviction typically results in hefty fines and a criminal record, or even jail time, drunk driving accidents often cause death or serious injury to the driver, passengers, or other motorists. A number of state laws allow for a felony DUI (or DWI) charge in cases where the driver's alcohol-related acts have caused bodily harm or death to another.
Simply being in an accident can meet the lower threshold for "reasonable suspicion" that a law may have been broken, allowing a police officer to stop and temporarily detain the motorists involved for the purpose of investigating further.
At this point, the officer may ask one or more of the drivers involved if they had been drinking; look to see if any beer cans or other tell-tale evidence is in plain view; or look at the drivers' eyes for signs of impairment. The officer also may conduct field sobriety tests.
If the investigation leads the officer to conclude that a motorist most likely is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, often based on the results of a BAC test, then the officer has "probable cause" to make an arrest for drunk driving.
Release Time: 2020-04-03 08:36:03
Depending on your state, officers may require BAC testing of drivers, passengers, and/or pedestrians killed in automobile accidents. In other states, however, testing occurs at the discretion of the officers on the scene. Many of the states lacking mandatory BAC testing requirements rely on implied consent law to authorize BAC testing of motorists, passengers, and/or pedestrians seriously injured or killed in accidents.