Could You Face Both Civil and Criminal Legal Consequences for a DUI?
When you are facing a possible criminal record because of a DUI, civil legal consequences may seem like the last of your worries. Most people do face some sort of civil action after they get charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Driver’s License Revocation
The driver’s license revocation process through the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety (DPS) is considered a civil administrative action. You will not face criminal charges, but the DPS could take away your driver’s license for an extended period of time.
When you get arrested for DUI by a police officer, the officer usually will seize your driver’s license and give you some paperwork in return (or send you the paperwork later). You have only 15 days from the date you receive the paperwork to request an administrative hearing with the DPS contesting the license revocation. This is a very short amount of time, so immediately request the hearing to preserve your rights. If you do not request a hearing, your driver’s license will most likely be revoked.
Personal Injury or Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If you injured or killed someone with your vehicle while driving under the influence, you could face a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. These lawsuits are filed in civil court, not criminal court. In other words, the penalties you face are not criminal in nature. You don’t face jail time or probation. Instead, you face stiff damages awards if you lose the case, or a hefty settlement payment to make the case go away.
You probably need a civil lawyer to handle a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, rather than the criminal defense lawyer you need for your DUI case. In some situations, your car insurance company may get involved in the lawsuit because the injured person may make a claim against your insurance policy.
Don’t risk losing your driver’s license or facing a large civil judgment against you because of a DUI – reach out to lawyers who can help you build a strong defense. The earlier in the civil actions that lawyers get involved, the better.
Have you been charged with a DUI in Oklahoma? Clint Patterson, Esq., of Patterson Law Firm, a former Tulsa prosecutor, uses his trial experience and expert-level knowledge of DUI science to defend drivers. He has the experience and the insight to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your case. To schedule a case evaluation, visit Patterson Law Firm online or call Clint’s office at (918) 550-9175.