If you have been in a car accident and are the person who is considered to be at fault, you may find yourself in legal trouble beyond simply having to pay restitution or reparation for the injuries or damage caused by the accident itself. Depending on the circumstances of the accident and what kind of damage was incurred, you may have a whole number of questions related to what kind of action the police can take once the accident has occurred.
Determining Fault in an Accident
It is true that the cause of the crash may purely be accidental. Things happen beyond our control at times, and this can lead to a serious situation, maybe even a serious injury to someone else. However, it appears that you have done nothing personally to cause the crash.
This would seem logical, but understand that in the legal system an accident is never viewed in the same way that the average person would look at it. Within the judicial system, an accident is viewed as some kind of unexpected or unfortunate occurrence which occurs as the direct result of another person’s careless behavior. What this tells you is that there is really nothing that is truly accidental about any crash that may occur.
This is important for you to know because the first thing that the police are going to try to ascertain when they arrive at the scene of an accident is who is responsible for the crash itself. He or she will be looking to assign cause and find the person responsible for the accident. They will be looking at any factors that seem to be plausible as to the cause of the accident.
You May Be Asked to Do More Than Answer Questions
Unless you are severely injured in the accident, you can be sure that the officer will ask you a number of questions related to the events that led up to the crash. This can be a nervy experience, as the officer may ask a lot of very pointed and harsh questions if he or she believes that you may be responsible for the accident.
However, understand that the steps that they take can go far beyond asking you some difficult questions. A police officer has a wide range of authority in the state of Arizona to go beyond simple questioning. This can mean asking you to take a field sobriety test, a breathalyzer, or even have you taken to a hospital or other medical care facility to have a blood test taken.
If the officer suspects that drugs or alcohol may play a role in the accident, then they are well within their legal rights to force you to undergo a battery of tests to try to see if some drug played a role in the accident itself. This can mean that they can have you taken to a facility for your blood alcohol level or a toxicology screen to be taken to see if you are impaired in some way or another.
Know Your Rights
It is important for you to understand that you have every legal right to refuse these kinds of tests. Unless there is a specific court order, you have the legal right to refuse most tests. This includes the field sobriety test and most forms of blood testing as well. Once again, that is if there is not some form of a court order from a judge that allows them to do so.
Whether you are impaired through drug or not, it is really to your advantage to not submit to tests like this, especially to a field sobriety test. Understand that you could be quite shaken from the accident itself, which may have led to a head injury, or some other kind of injury that makes it difficult for you to walk straight or to perform other tests that are part of the exam. This can make it appear that you are impaired when you are not.
Simply inform the officer that you refuse to take the tests. Understand that there are consequences to this. You can have your license suspended for one year should you refuse to undergo the tests.
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