June 6, 2023 | DUI
If you have been in an accident, it is important to understand your rights and responsibilities under Kentucky law, especially if there is a potential that you can be charged with a DUI. How long after an accident you can be arrested for driving under the influence depends on the statute of limitations.
In the meantime, you should be aware of best practices of how to interact with law enforcement and insurance companies during the accident investigation to minimize the chances of being charged with driving under the influence.
The Statute of Limitations for DUI Charges in Kentucky
The statute of limitations is the length of time under the law during which a state can file criminal charges against a defendant.
In Kentucky, the statute of limitations to charge someone with a misdemeanor DUI is one year from the date of the offense. That means if you were involved in an accident where there is a potential to be charged with driving under the influence, Kentucky authorities have up to one year to file charges. If you are not charged within that time period, the charges are forever barred.
Most DUIs in Kentucky are charged as misdemeanors.
However, if the DUI is charged as a felony, it is not subject to a statute of limitations. That means you could potentially face charges at any time. For example, if you drove while intoxicated, caused a car accident, and killed someone, you will likely face felony DUI charges. There is generally no time limit for the prosecution to bring these charges.
Engaging with Law Enforcement
Every person has a legal responsibility to report a motor vehicle accident to local law enforcement, even in a single-vehicle accident where no other vehicles are involved. Otherwise, you would be at risk of a separate criminal charge for leaving the scene of an accident.
However, if you believe there is a risk of being charged with driving under the influence in connection with the auto accident, you need to know how to communicate with local law enforcement. You must provide your name and insurance information so the officer can prepare an accident report.
Even though you must report an accident, you always have a right to remain silent. You are not obligated to discuss with the officer any drinks you may have consumed prior to the accident, nor are you required to consent to taking any field sobriety tests.
You always have the right to remain silent to avoid making self-incriminating statements. You are within your rights to decline to answer questions of how the accident occurred, whether you drank alcohol, etc. Rather, all you must do is report the accident.
Interacting with Insurance Adjusters
As a separate matter, you should be very cautious when reporting the accident to insurance. Of course, if you have insurance, you need to report the accident in order to obtain coverage.
You can provide basic facts about what happened. But do not speculate about why the accident occurred. You do not need to admit fault. Also, keep in mind any statements you make might get subpoenaed by law enforcement in a DUI investigation, so be cautious about the amount of detail that you provide, knowing any admissions can be used in court.
How a Lexington DUI Defense Attorney Can Help
If you have recently been in an automobile accident and are concerned about the potential of a DUI charge, a wise course of action would be to contact a local criminal defense attorney for advice and representation even before charges are filed.
That way, the attorney and their office can communicate with law enforcement on your behalf without the risk of you being questioned about the details of the accident. The attorney can also speak with the insurance adjuster on your behalf so that you are not interviewed.
It is a way to shield yourself from questioning but still comply with your legal obligations to report the accident and cooperate with insurance to secure claim coverage.
Contact the Lexington DUI Attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC For Help Today
Suhre & Associates, LLC – Lexington
333 West Vine Street #212
Lexington, KY 40507