No matter where you live, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious offense with the long lasting consequences. If you face first offense DUI in California with no aggravating factors, you can be punished not as strictly as in other states. Also, first offense DUI is usually a misdemeanor in California, unlike some other jurisdictions. But even in California, you may have to pay extremely high DUI-related expenses if you are arrested or convicted. The expense include: insurance rate increase, towing and storage fee for impounded vehicle, DUI school programs, DMV reinstatement fee, fines and court costs, bail, and possible attorney fees. All around, the DUI expenses can easily cost thousands of dollars. If you want to learn more about the cost of a DUI offense, visit our “What is the real cost of DUI in Los Angeles, California” page.
However, in some unusual cases, even the first offense DUI may cost millions of dollars.
Last Friday a former artistic gymnast and Olympic winner Shawn Johnson East gave testimony in $4 million lawsuit initiated by her aunt Cheryl Bronson. The former “Dancing with the Stars” described how the DUI accident affected her aunt’s life span. Earlier her aunt “was always taking care of everyone” and now she had to ask for help herself.
On the 11th of January 2015 Bronson was injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a drunk driver. Ryan Foley, a 25-year old defendant, crashed his Ford Escape into Bronson’s Jeep Patriot. According to the court’s documents, Foley’s BAC level was almost twice the legal limit. Johnson’s aunt sustained a fractured leg and injured knee. Foley pleaded guilty to the first offense DUI in January 2015.
Cheryl Bronson filed a lawsuit against Ryan Thomas Foley and his father Thomas Walter Foley. Thomas Foley, an attorney at Whitfield and Eddy, and a co-defendant in the case, filed against him because he gave his car to his son on the night of the incident.
Foley’s attorney attempted to settle the case in September by offering to pay $450,000 of compensatory damages. Bronson’s lawyer Nicholas Rowley asked for up to $25 million in compensatory damages.
On the basis of court decision, Cheryl Bronson should receive $3.5 million in compensatory damages and $425,000 in punitive damages for injuries she suffered after Foley rammed into her car in 2015.
This case proves us that a cost of DUI can be extremely high and reach into millions.
Under California law, if you cause bodily injury to any person other than yourself, you may be charged with Vehicle Code Section 23153 “DUI causing injury“. You can be convicted only if you were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and your BAC is above 0.08%. As indicated here, the penalties and costs for a DUI causing injury can vary significantly from case to case and reach into thousands or millions of dollars.
(818) 921 7744 We provide a free DUI case review to discuss your options.
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