If you have been arrested on drunk or otherwise impaired driving charges, you may be—very understandably—feeling overwhelmed about the legal road ahead of you. It is important to understand that, depending upon the unique nature of your circumstances, you may be facing criminal charges, civil liability, or both of these legal hurdles. As an experienced DUI lawyer – can confirm, understanding the differences between civil and criminal DUI cases can help to ensure that you prepare properly for any legal challenges that you may be subjected to in the coming days, weeks, and months.

Criminal DUI Cases

Criminal DUI charges are pursued by a prosecutor. Prosecutors are employed by the government. Working with an experienced criminal defense attorney is critical if you are facing criminal charges—whether they are classified as misdemeanor(s) and/or felony(ies). Why? If you already have a criminal record, adding to that record could result in more severe consequences than you would be facing if this was your first brush with the criminal justice system. If this is the first time you’ve ever been arrested, having a criminal record is a challenge best avoided. A conviction record can keep you from obtaining employment, credit, housing, and even admittance to institutions of higher learning.

Depending upon the unique circumstances under which you were arrested, you may also be facing charges related to the destruction of property and/or injury of another. Take these charges against you seriously. You’ll place yourself in the best possible position to mount a successful defense or to mitigate the potential consequences of a conviction or guilty plea by connecting with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as you possibly can.

Civil Cases Resulting from DUI-Related Harm

Regardless of whether you win your criminal case—or even if the criminal charges against you are dropped altogether—you may face civil liability if you injured someone while you were allegedly driving under the influence. Civil cases are completely distinct from criminal cases. If you lose a personal injury or wrongful death claim filed against you, you will be ordered to pay restitution to the victim(s) named in the suit. The standard of proof in civil cases is far lower than it is in criminal cases, so it is very important to seek reputable legal guidance if you have been notified that a civil case has been filed against you.