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Douglas & Douglas Jacksonville Personal Injury Lawyer
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Alcohol and Lack of Driving Experience Are a Deadly Combination


Drivers below the age of 21 account for a disproportionate share of car accidents.  Many of these are minor fender benders attributable to the driver’s relatively brief driving career.  A 20-year-old has had a driver’s license for, at most, four years, and very few teens get their own vehicles before age 18.  Bumping into the occasional mailbox is just part of learning to drive, and most of these collisions do not result in serious injuries.  The biggest danger, as insurers know, is that young drivers tend to be more impulsive and less cautious about dangerous behaviors such as speeding or excessive drinking.  If you have been injured in a car accident where alcohol or high speeds played a role, contact a Jacksonville car accident lawyer.

Young Man Gets Prison Sentence After Fatal DUI Crash

In early 2019, Hilson Smith of Fort Walton Beach ran a flashing red light at an intersection in Mary Esther.  As a result, his pickup truck struck the side of a Toyota Scion.  The passenger in the Scion, Alexis Mitchell, died of injuries sustained in the collision.  She was 26 years old.  Mitchell was the mother of three children, none of whom were in the vehicle at the time of the accident.  The driver of the Scion, 24-year-old Shelby Billington, sustained injuries serious enough to require hospitalization.

Smith, who was 20 years old at the time of the accident, was under the influence of alcohol when police arrived at the scene.  He did not give a breath sample, but a blood sample taken four hours after the collision showed that his blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.095, which is above the legal limit, and which indicates that it was even higher at the time of the collision.  Smith was charged with DUI manslaughter, DUI resulting in serious injuries, violation of probation, and possession of alcohol by a person under 21.  The penalty for DUI manslaughter can range from four to 30 years in state prison.  In May 2021, the court handed down a sentence of 15.8 years in state prison.

The Rights of People Injured in DUI Collisions

Not everyone who causes a car accident while driving drunk gets convicted of DUI, and some do not even face criminal charges.  This is because, in order to avoid punishing people for crimes they did not commit, the standard of evidence is very high to secure a conviction in a criminal case.  If you get injured in an alcohol-related car accident, you have the right to sue the party or parties responsible for causing the accident, whether or not the drunk driver gets criminal charges.  The responsible party could be the drunk driver, the person or company that owns the vehicle, or even the bar that served alcohol to the drunk driver before he or she drove under the influence of alcohol.

Contact Douglas & Douglas About Car Accident Cases

A North Florida personal injury lawyer can help you collect damages for your accident-related injuries if you got injured in an alcohol-related car accident.  Contact Douglas & Douglas in Jacksonville, Florida for a free consultation.


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