Alaska is an at-fault state. This means the usual law of tort applies to decide which driver is the most immediate cause of the injuries and damage to property. The test is called negligence. In most cases, it will be obvious which driver has failed to take enough care but, if there’s likely to be a dispute, you should get a car accident attorney to advise. The law does not always work in the common sense way you might expect. To avoid problems later, talking with an expert sooner rather than later is recommended.
The Alaska Bar Association operates a referral service. Assuming your problem can be quickly classified, the Association will refer you to an attorney with the right skills living reasonably close to you. Sadly, not all the cities have car accident attorneys signed up to the scheme but, to get the reduced fees for the initial interview, referral gets the best results. Otherwise, you are looking for an attorney who will give you a pro bono or low fee rate for discussing the case with you. If it’s a good case, you will usually then be offered a contingent fee deal so you get free representation. The attorney takes his or her fee plus a percentage out of whatever amount is recovered.
General criminal representation
No matter what the apparent seriousness of the charges, you should know what your rights are. It may appear to be a trivial ticket but, if this is not your first, your car insurance rates could rise sharply. There is often a good chance of beating minor tickets. It all depends on where you live and the quality of the representation you can afford. Avoiding a ticket or conviction can save you hundreds of dollars a year on premium rates. When it comes to more serious offenses like driving while incapacitated, it’s even more important to balance the risks and benefits. A conviction inevitably means your auto insurance company will cancel your policy. As a high-risk driver, insurance will become very expensive.
The law implies consent to anyone driving a motor vehicle or watercraft. If you are suspected of committing an offense and the presence of alcohol is suspected, you have already consented to a breath or chemical test to determine whether you are over the blood alcohol concentration limit. The test can be administered either at the place where the incident occurred, or at a police station. Refusal is an offense.
Alaska is a zero tolerance state so if you are under 21 and there is any evidence you have been drinking alcohol, the offense is confirmed. This leads to a fine and community service of between twenty and forty hours. The fines and length of community service increase if the offense is repeated. It’s also a crime to supply alcohol to someone under the age of twenty-one. There are fines and serious jail time if this minor drives and injures anyone else. So both bar staff and parents who give teens alcohol when they visit should get legal advice from car accident attorneys before they speak to the police.
If you are over 21 and the test is administered, the offense is committed if your blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 or higher. If you refuse to take the test, you spend three days in jail, it’s mandatory that an ignition interlock device is fitted to your vehicle, and there’s a fine up to $1,500. For the second and third offenses, the time in jail goes up quite quickly. One option your car accident attorney can explore is a plea bargain for what’s called wet recklessness, i.e. reckless driving after consuming alcohol. This can avoid you being classified as a high-risk driver. If you are convicted of DUI, your license will automatically be suspended for a minimum of ninety days.
For commercial drivers, the BAC is 0.04. Conviction means you cannot drive a commercial vehicle for at least twelve months. The period of disqualification depends on the nature of the load and the circumstances of the arrest. If you were driving hazardous materials and were involved in an accident, the disqualification will be at least three years.