An officer hit by a DUI suspect in August could suffer permanent injuries, according to reports. Reports of the incident state that the officer was pulled over to the side of the freeway performing a separate DUI investigation when the suspect veered off the road and collided with the rear of the patrol car. The officer, who was sitting in the car with the initial suspect when the collision occurred, suffered a fractured jaw, a spinal fracture, and five broken ribs.
The Move Over Law
Colorado, like most other states, has what is known as a “move over” law. These laws require drivers to slow down or move over when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped on the side of the road. These laws are designed to prevent accidents much like the one at issue here. When emergency vehicles are nearby, it is often the case that people are outside of the car. It also often means that there are individuals in distress and in need of assistance. Fast moving traffic in close proximity to distressed pedestrians or those carrying out emergency duties can compound the hazards already present. For these reasons the “move over” law was passed to give emergency vehicles and their occupants a wide berth to perform their important public safety duties.
Like with any vehicle code violation, failure to observe the “move over” law is in itself sufficient basis to be pulled over and issued a citation. If someone who has been drinking is pulled over for this reason, a DUI investigation is likely to follow shortly thereafter. It is prudent to always give space or slow down for emergency vehicles while driving, not only for the safety reasons illustrated by this story, but also in order to avoid being stopped by the police.
Cases of DUI involving an accident can be far more serious than a typical DUI case. Where serious injury occurs, a misdemeanor can suddenly become felony vehicular assault, carrying a prison term of 2-6 years. When a death occurs, the charges are even more serious and carry a prison term of up to 12 years. One important aspect of the law concerning DUI accidents is that while DUI convictions are very likely, the government must also prove that the intoxicated suspect also performed an act or omission that either violates the vehicle code or was otherwise unsafe under the circumstances in order to obtain a conviction on the additional charges of vehicular assault or vehicular homicide. In a case like the one above, the apparent failure to observe the “move over” law combined with driving off of the roadway will likely have such a result. However, not every accident has these facts. It is possible in some cases for a person legally under the influence to be involved in an accident that was not their fault. In these cases, the suspects now face much more serious charges than DUI.
Contact a Denver DUI Attorney
If you have been arrested for a DUI, especially if an accident was involved, contact the attorneys at Tiftickjian Law Firm. We have the knowledge and experience to fight for you and protect your rights. Just because you were in an accident does not necessarily mean it was your fault. We do thorough research and investigation to make sure our clients get justice. Prosecutors aggressively try cases of DUI accidents, and they often overcharge in order to pressure defendants into guilty pleas. Don’t let a mistake ruin your life. Call us today.