In Arizona if you are impaired by drugs or alcohol but still make a conscious decision to drive and later cause an accident, did you know that you not only will face criminal charges and jail time but you also will likely face civil penalties which are non-dischargeable in bankruptcy? In other words, making stupid decisions can cost you. In addition to facing jail time, you will likely face a civil judgment for actual and punitive damages. Actual damages relate to actual harm a victim suffers as a direct result of the bad decisions a drunk driver makes. Punitive damages punish the wrongdoer for the conscious disregard of the substantial and known risks of harm facing an impaired driver. The best decision a drunk can make is not to drive at all. Organizations such as MADD have in place a national campaign to end drunk driving. Hopefully, in addition to MADD and other campaigns to end drunk driving, risks of substantial jail time and civil judgments can convince a drunk to act responsibly.
When a drunk driver gets into a car and causes a crash, everybody loses. The victim of the drunk driver’s behavior loses because too often, this person faces very serious physical injuries. The drunk driver loses because his or her conduct will lead to a loss of liberty and large monetary penalties and an likely civil judgment for actual and punitive damages. The public also loses because the drunk driver’s conduct increases costs of insurance, police protection and adds to overall dangers on our state’s roadways. Arizona has already received national attention about the number of drinking-related fatalities in the past. In the past, I have also written about how Arizona fares when comparing alcohol-related crashes to other states in the nation. Each of us can eliminate dangers associated with drunk driving by simply refusing to drive drunk and taking a cab, relying on a designated driver or staying home. Do not become another statistic in Arizona. Act responsibly and help to eliminate drunk driving on our roadways one driver at a time.