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The Difference Between a Criminal and Civil Case after DUI Accident


If you are in a collision with a drunk driver, the police may place that driver under arrest at the scene of the accident. The driver will then likely face criminal charges for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and, if convicted, may face suspension of their driver’s license, fines, and even possible jail time.

All of the above criminal penalties will do little to nothing to help you as an accident victim, however. You may be facing costly medical expenses, you may have lost income because you had to take time off from work while you recovered, and you may have experienced physical pain and emotional distress as a result of the accident. In order to hold the drunk driver liable for those losses, you must file a claim for personal injury in civil court.

The civil case will be separate from the criminal case and different laws and procedures will apply. The cases will be in front of different judges and will have separate trials (if the cases go to trial). You will need to provide adequate evidence that the driver was drunk and caused your injuries in order to prevail in your civil case.

The good news is that if a driver is convicted of DUI on the criminal side, you can use that conviction to satisfy the proof of negligence. This can reduce the amount of evidence you need to present to the court. In that situation, you will still have to provide proof of your losses by providing medical bills, pay statements, and other documents.

Call to Discuss Your Case With a Gainesville DUI Accident Attorney

At Meldon Law, our personal injury attorneys understand both the criminal side of a DUI case and the need for victims to seek compensation from a drunk driver. We can use any evidence from a criminal case to your best advantage so that you can recover for your injuries and losses. If you have been injured in any type of accident, call today at 800-373-8000 for a free consultation.

  1. The 2022 Florida Statutes
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