Arizona DUI, Collisions & Restitution
In the state of Arizona, if your vehicle has been damaged in an automobile accident by a driver who is charged with Driving Under the Influence of alcohol or drugs, you are a victim and as such you have rights. Those rights include the right to be notified of the court proceedings, to be heard at sentencing and most importantly, if the defendant is found guilty of DUI or Reckless Driving, restitution for the damages you have suffered. Those damages can include repairs to your vehicle at a qualified auto body shop, lost wages if you are unable to get to work or while you go to court proceedings, and the cost of a replacement rental vehicle while you are waiting for your automobile to be repaired.
Restitution must be ordered for all your damages even though you may be partially responsible for the accident. For the example, if you are speeding and the DUI defendant turns in front of you and causes an accident, in the criminal case the judge must order full restitution for all your damages. If the defendant had liability insurance then you can get restitution through the insurance company rather than the court proceeding, and in most cases it would probably be quicker to get it from the insurance company. However, what the insurance company decides is not binding on the court, so if the defendant’s insurance company only gives you 50% of your damages because they claim you are partially at fault, you can get the other 50% as restitution through the court.
You are under no obligation to get your vehicle repaired, so even if you choose not to repair the damages, do make sure to get an estimate of the damages from a local collision center as you can get restitution for that amount. Keep in mind the prosecutor for your case is in effect your lawyer, and you should give the prosecutor proof of all your damages and stay in contact with their office. Do not shortchange yourself and your family, exercise your rights to get full restitution. For more information about your rights, contact a Mesa, AZ DUI attorney today.