On May 2, one accident in Naples, Florida ended up leading to two arrests as police found that both of the drivers in the crash were drunk. Juan Carlos Dominguez rear-ended John Warner Rippons in Naples, causing damage to both vehicles. The men were both brought to the same emergency room, and when field sobriety tests were done on them, police found they were both drunk and arrested them for DUI.
It is perfectly legal in a case such as this one to arrest both of the parties to an accident if both are drunk. The law is not that a party has to be driving drunk and be at fault in an accident, just that a party has to be driving drunk. That means that even if someone is involved in an accident due to someone else’s negligence or reckless driving, they can still face arrest for their own DUI charge if they had nothing to do with the accident.
In a case such as this one, the person who rear ends another car would normally be determined to be at fault since they are they one who is legally believed to have the most control over stopping for an obstacle. This is the rule normally when it comes to negligence and giving a ticket for a car accident when one car rear-ends another. In a case where no drunk driver is involved or only the one who caused the accident is drunk, this means that the passengers and driver of the car that was hit may have a personal injury claim against the driver.
It is unlikely that there will be a personal injury suit here for a few reasons. One is that neither driver seems to have been injured enough to meet the threshold required to sue someone for injuries in a car accident under Florida’s no-fault law. Another reason is that both drivers are pretty equally at fault here. Both of these things together mean that the damages that could actually be collected could be nothing or almost nothing, meaning that a suit would be pretty much pointless.
Both of these drivers face a misdemeanor DUI charge where they could get no more than 6 months in jail along with license suspension and fines, assuming both have been arrested for the first time. It is likely that while they are awaiting trial for these charges they are also not allowed to drink or drive under the terms of their bail.
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