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Houma Drunk Driving Accident Civil and Criminal Actions 

Many people do not realize that Houma drunk driving accident civil and criminal actions are handled separately. That is to say, that the drunk driving case is going to be handled separately from the car accident case. The injury case is going to be a civil proceeding brought by the injured party against the drunk driver and their insurance company or their employer, and the DWI prosecution will be brought by the district attorney against the drunk driver. If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, a qualified drunk driving lawyer could work tirelessly to advocate for you during your personal injury case.

Differences Between Drunk Driving and Other Car Accident Cases

When someone is drunk and causes a crash, the amount of damages that can be recovered from the party at fault changes. The injured party can receive punitive damages in a car accident injury case in which the injuries were caused by negligence through impairment brought on by alcohol or drug use.

Oftentimes, these kinds of wrecks occur late at night. People on two-lane roadways impaired through the use of alcohol or narcotics drift into the opposing lane and cause head-on collisions.

The use of alcohol and drugs impairs the ability of normal functioning of an automobile so that the driver does not have good judgment and does not anticipate vehicles stopping lawfully or due to a roadway defect or a mechanical breakdown. Often, these crashes are high-speed collisions and as a consequence more often the results are broken bones, death, brain injuries, and that sort of serious injury.

Investigation of Drunk Driving Offenses

There is a statute in Louisiana, 14:98, that makes it illegal for anyone to operate a motor vehicle while they are intoxicated. Usually,  the intoxicated person is going to be a part of the criminal process. It is usually going to be investigated and determined by law enforcement at a crash scene, whether they have an Intoxilyzeror, breath alcohol machine or a field sobriety test. The local law enforcement who is investigating, whether it’s Houma Police, Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s office, or Louisiana State Police, will be responsible for the testing and determination of blood alcohol or impairment brought about by alcohol or illegal narcotics.

The investigating officer can apply for a warrant with the local judges to require blood testing, so the injured driver is not going to be involved in that. That’s going to be law enforcement with the traffic investigation and the criminal process, which is either going to be the city of Houma or the Parish of Terrebonne. The District Attorney’s Office will make a decision based on the evidence obtained by the investigating officer, the Deputy, the Houma policeman, or the state trooper. Evidence is going to be up to the law enforcement who investigated the crash and determined whether the other driver was drunk. That information and DWI reports are presented to the prosecution team.

 Does the City Pursue Criminal Charges Against the Drunk Driver?

There is a city court in Houma that is responsible for pursuing charges against the drunk driving. In the district court for the Parish of Terrebonne, they also pursue driving while intoxicated cases. In the criminal proceedings, the matters are reviewed by the district attorney for the Parish of Terrebonne and he makes a determination of whether he is going to prosecute the individual or not, depending on the evidence.

When it comes to Houma drunk driving accident civil and criminal actions, the injury case is going to be prosecuted as a civil prosecution, and that is going to be the injured party making a claim against the drunk driver and their insurance company or employer. The driving while intoxicated charge will be brought either in Houma City Court or District Court in Terrebonne Parish. Both will be prosecuted in the criminal system by the district attorney for the Parish of Terrebonne. The injured party would be considered a victim and the party bringing the criminal prosecution would be the state of Louisiana or the city of Houma.

Comparative Fault in Drunk Driving Accidents

Louisiana is a pure comparative fault state.In Houma drunk driving accident civil and criminal actions, if the drunk driver is 90% at fault and the injured party is 10% at fault, then the injured party would receive 90% of the damages. The fact that the injured party may share some fault in causing the crash does not prevent a case from being pursued against the drunk driver.

There is no contributory negligence in Louisiana that bars complete recovery. It’s all done on a percentage basis and there are a number of factors involved. However, a drunk driver is going to weigh more heavily as being negligent versus someone who is ordinarily negligent but not intoxicated.