Driving under the influence (DUI) is one of the most serious offenses a driver can commit on the road. Unfortunately, DUI accidents can often result in severe injury or death. These accidents are especially tragic because they are preventable by simply avoiding drugs or alcohol before driving. When a victim dies in a DUI accident, the deceased’s family is left to pick up the pieces.
A recent news article reported that a man died and 20 people were injured after a driver under the influence crashed into an Apple store. The accident occurred in Hingham, Massachusetts, when the driver pressed down on the accelerator and was unable to brake. His SUV then crashed through the front of the store, striking a construction worker who was moving a barrier. The worker sadly died from his injuries. Twenty people were also hospitalized, some with life-threatening injuries. Police arrested the driver hours after the crash.
What Are the Civil and Criminal Penalties for a DUI in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts law refers to DUI crimes as “Operating Under the Influence” (OUI). Under OUI laws, drivers who operate their vehicles under the influence with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08 and cause serious bodily injury faces either 2 ½ to 10 years in state prison and a maximum fine of $5,000, or 6 months to 2 ½ years in a county prison and a maximum fine of $5,000. These penalties apply regardless of whether the accident occurs on a roadway or in any other place available to the public. An example of the latter scenario is an intoxicated driver who crashes into a building, as opposed to another vehicle on the road. If a person dies as a result of a driver operating a vehicle under the influence with a BAC of 0.08 or higher, the driver is guilty of homicide by motor vehicle. As punishment for this crime, Massachusetts law imposes between 2 ½ to 15 years in state prison and a maximum fine of $5,000, or 1-2 ½ years in a county prison and a maximum fine of $5,000.
While criminal penalties may bring a deceased victim’s family justice, they do not provide redress for the heavy emotional and financial losses of the victim’s surviving loved ones. While no amount of money will bring a loved one back, a wrongful death claim can give a victim’s family closure and help ease the financial burdens of their loss. Under Massachusetts law, the deceased’s spouse and children can bring a wrongful death claim against a driver operating a vehicle under the influence. If the deceased was unmarried, his or her next of kin can bring a claim. A victim’s loved ones can seek compensation for the loss of the deceased’s reasonably expected net income, funeral and burial expenses, and the emotional loss of the victim’s companionship and comfort.
Do You Need a DUI Accident Attorney?
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries or died in a Massachusetts DUI accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your loss. The dedicated and compassionate attorneys at the Neumann Law Group have successfully represented accident victims at every stage of the litigation process. Following a tragic accident, our team can help you understand your options for pursuing the damages you need and deserve. Call our office today at 800-525-6386 to schedule a free initial consultation.