What If You Damage Property While DUI? | San Diego Law Blog
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What If You Damage Property While DUI?

By San Diego Attorney on September 25, 2022

Driving under the influence, or DUI is considered an offense in the state of California. It is extremely dangerous to drive while experiencing the effects of alcohol, as it can alter your brain and your ability to function normally.

As DUIs often involve reckless driving, there is a possibility that you may damage property while driving under the influence. While DUIs alone can have a myriad of consequences, causing damage to someone’s property while driving intoxicated can worsen the penalties you may face.

What Are The Consequences?

The consequences of a DUI alone can be significant and severely impact your everyday life. Depending on the severity of the facts, the consequences are dire. You could be forced to use an ignition interlock device, serve community service, attend DUI school, or lose your license. You could also be fined a very large sum of money, or even face jail time if the judge deems this an appropriate outcome.

While there aren’t separate charges laid if you cause damage to someone’s property while DUI, the possibility of your sentence being a lot heavier is significantly increased. If you damage property while DUI, you could face drug and alcohol treatment classes, a longer period in DUI classes, a fine larger than you would have received had you not damaged property, and a potentially increased jail sentence.

You will also likely have to compensate the owner of the property for the damages. This can potentially be very costly and put you under a lot of financial stress. If the judge does not order you to make these payments, then it is likely that the property owner will personally sue you for the damages.

Damaging someone’s property and not leaving your information with the property owner at the scene can also cause you to be charged with a hit and run. This is classed as a misdemeanor and can incite jail time and fines.

Keep in mind that if you cause an accident while DUI (which usually involves property damage), then it is unlikely that you will be offered a plea bargain for a reduced charge.

What Is Property Damage?

In the context of DUIs, property damage simply means the damage to any property that will cost money to fix or replace. This encompasses everything from mailboxes, fences, and garden damage, to more serious damage such as that to buildings. It also includes any damage to another person’s vehicle if you are involved and are found liable for a car accident while DUI.

The value of the damages is usually the cost of replacing or repairing the damaged property. If you cause damage to a building, this can be extremely costly as it can be very difficult to repair.

Call Us Today

If you have been charged with a DUI including property damage, it is important that you get in touch with a lawyer as soon as you possibly can. A criminal defense lawyer can walk you through the court process, advise you on how to plead, and build you a defense case, should you want to refute the charges.

At jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys, our experienced lawyers have the knowledge and experience to tackle even the most difficult of criminal defense cases. They can assist and advise you during your DUI charges in a way that will aim to result in the best outcome possible. If you have been charged with a DUI including property damage, do not wait to call us today at (760) 630-2000.

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