A detention officer at the Rio Arriba County Jail has resigned after he was involved in a crash that killed two New Mexico men last week. The jail employee, a 26-year-old man from El Rito, New Mexico, told witnesses and police that he had consumed between five and 12 beers in the hours leading up to the accident. The man was arrested on suspicion of vehicular homicide and has been released to house-arrest on a bond.
According to a report from Albuquerque ABC affiliate KOAT News, the man was driving on the wrong side of the road on U.S. 84 north of Espanola, New Mexico last Thursday when the crash occurred. Evidently, the corrections officer was off duty at the time of the crash and had not worked that day. After the collision that killed the occupants of the other car, two men aged 45 and 23, the jail employee admitted to police that he had had five beers before the accident occurred. Other witnesses report that, immediately after the accident, the man said that he had drunk 12 beers. Even after admitting to police that he had consumed alcohol, the man resisted a blood draw by authorities and was additionally charged with resisting an officer.
The Dangers of Driving While Intoxicated
It appears that this man’s alcohol consumption played a large role in the cause of this tragic crash. In New Mexico, if a driver is found operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of over .08%, he or she is considered to be driving under the influence and is subject to criminal charges. When a driver is involved in an accident and his or her intoxication appears to have played a role in the cause of the crash, the driver can be held criminally liable for any damage, injury, or deaths that occur from the accident. If someone is found guilty in a New Mexico drunk driving accident, they can be subject to severe criminal penalties and may find themselves behind bars for most, if not all, of their remaining years.
Civil Liability for Accidents Caused by Drunk Driving
In addition to the criminal liability that drunk drivers may face on account of their intoxicated driving, they may also be liable for civil damages to the victims or their families. The injuries and deaths that occur in New Mexico as a result of drunken driving accidents leave innocent victims with substantial expenses and the burden of unspeakable loss. A New Mexico personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit can be filed against a drunk driver to help compensate the victims for the expenses and losses related to the accident.
The Criminal DUI Charges on an Accident Lawsuit
When a driver is involved in an accident and is found at fault by the police and convicted of DUI, a lawsuit to prove civil liability for the damages from the accident is easier to win, since it is generally easier to prove civil liability than to obtain a criminal conviction. In cases where a driver involved in an accident has been charged with DUI, it remains important for the victims or their families to consult with legal counsel as early as possible to ensure that they have the best chance of being fairly compensated for their loss. Sometimes, however, a driver who may have been drunk and caused an accident will not be charged or convicted with a DUI offense. If someone who may have been intoxicated and caused an accident is not charged with DUI, this does not mean that he or she cannot be held civilly responsible for the accident. The standard of proof needed to impose civil liability on a defendant is easier to meet than that required for a criminal conviction, and a skilled New Mexico DUI attorney may be able to win a civil verdict against a drunk driver even when the criminal charges fall through.
Do You Need a Lawyer?
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in an auto accident and you suspect that alcohol was a factor, it is important to contact an experienced New Mexico accident attorney today, whether or not the other driver was charged with DUI. The lawyers at the Fine Law firm have tried many New Mexico accident cases, and they have the experience and know-how that are needed to give you the best chance of getting the compensation that you deserve. Contact us as soon as possible to evaluate your case. The Fine Law Firm represents clients in a variety of New Mexico personal injury and wrongful death cases, including those that may have been caused by a drunk or impaired driver. Contact us online or call (505) 889-3463 and schedule a free consultation today.
More Blog Posts:
Distracted Driver Causes Crash on Interstate 25 That Leaves One Dead, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, June 5, 2014.
New Mexico Supreme Court Finds That Lack of Foreseeability Does Not Prevent a Premises Liability Claim from Going to Trial, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, May 20, 2014.