Can A Past DUI Affect Your Auto Accident Case?
If you fear that your past DUI charge will affect the future outcome of your no-fault auto accident, take a moment to ease your stress. Unless alcohol plays a part in your recent accident, it might not hinder your case against the other driver. However, an accident attorney is the best person to ask about your case in this type of situation. He or she can guide you through the tough questions the other party's insurance company may ask to stall or discredit your case.
The insurance company may ask if you currently receive rehabilitation treatment for your alcohol problem, and whether or not you possess any new charges since your previous DUI charge. You can prepare for your case by obtaining pertinent information, such as the results of your DUI.
Why Should You Get Copies of Your DUI Records?
States like Montana allow DUI charges to stay on your driving records for five years or more — even if you complete your mandated probation and/or jail time early. The negligent driver's auto insurance provider may choose to use your records against you.
Remember, even if it's clearly the other driver's fault, the insurance company needs to save money when it comes to paying out accident settlements. Although this may or may not happen, the company may try to discredit your character by saying you didn't complete any of your DUI requirements as ordered. You may still be a danger to other drivers.
You can help your attorney strengthen your case by obtaining records of what you did after your DUI charge. The records may show when you completed a mandated rehabilitation program and your probation requirements after your DUI, as well as when you received the return of your driver's license. If the DUI was your first and only problem, the records may state it.
Where to Get Records of Your DUI?
The attorney can get copies of your completed probation records, but it may take time away from investigating the rest of your case. Unless your state prevents this, you may approach criminal court for your records in person. Your past case probably went to criminal court if you killed or seriously harmed other drivers or bystanders while driving under the influence of alcohol. In addition, criminal court takes cases that require a jury of peers to decide.
If you didn't harm or injure other drivers or pedestrians during your DUI, civil court may hold your records. Civil court requires you to pay fines or restitution to people you hurt instead of serve serious time in jail or prison.
You should contact both court locations to find out exactly where you need to go and when. Keep in mind that government bodies like courts close down at certain times of the day, during federal holidays and on the weekends. You should obtain your records as soon as it's feasible for you to do so.
Additionally, if civil or criminal court allows you to get copies of your DUI case in person, you may need to bring along and present copies of your:
- Social Security card
- Identification card or license if you still have it
- Proof of United State's residence, such as a birth certificate, green card or passport
The information prevents other people from obtaining your private documents. Also, ask the court system if you can order copies of your records online through its Clerk of Courts sites. If so, you'll need to pay a small fee before you open and print the files. But understand that online records probably won't reveal much about your case because they may contain information, such as felonies or crimes against the state.
In most cases, only government, legal and medical entities can legally obtain full criminal or civil records of citizens. If you can't obtain copies of your DUI records from any of the courts, tell your attorney as soon as you can to keep your case on track.
Although it may seem hopeless or frustrating, you shouldn't let your past haunt you. Your accident attorney, like one from Bailey Law Office Ltd, is there to help you every step of the way.