Visitor Question

Rear ended by drunk driver on private property, but no charge for DUI?

Submitted By: Anonymous (North Carolina)

My son was rear ended and the vehicle was totaled. It was at work in the parking lot on private property. The officer who responded told my son the other driver was highly intoxicated. The police report marked the driver as under the influence and at fault.

The driver also tried to leave the scene by trying to exit the back entrance and was stopped by the security and brought back to scene. He was not charged with DUI because it was on private property. Will this make a difference in settling the injury claim? Is it really okay to drive drunk on private property, cause an accident, and get away with it?

Any information you can give would be appreciated. Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Anonymous,

States vary on the acronyms they attach to a person who has been driving under the influence of alcohol or other drug. Some states refer to that behavior as a “DUI,” and others as a “DWI.” These acronyms respectively represent Driving Under the Influence, Driving While Impaired, or Driving While Intoxicated.

North Carolina uses the acronym DWI representing Driving While Impaired. In North Carolina, a driver is said to be Driving While Impaired if he or she is found to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08%.

The simplest way to explain what .08 means is to say for every 10,000 drops of blood in a driver’s body there are 8 drops of alcohol. This means if a driver is tested and found to have a .07 BAC, he or she is not considered impaired for purposes of North Carolina’s DWI statute. However, once the BAC reaches .08 or higher, the driver is considered to have violated North Carolina’s DWI statute.

In your case, the driver should have been arrested. Section 20-138.1 of the North Carolina Revised Statutes does not make an exception for driving while impaired on private property.

Section 20-138.1 clearly states: “A person commits the offense of impaired driving if he drives any vehicle upon any highway, any street, or any public vehicular area within this State.”

The police report states the driver was “under the influence and at fault.” Those affirmative notations combined with your son having been struck from behind are more than enough for your son to have a very strong property damage and personal injury claim.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: December 30, 2015

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