Driving Under the Influence (DUI) not only jeopardizes your life and the lives and safety of others – it’s also a financial nightmare with ruinous consequences. Court fees, costs and restitution are higher than you might think – not to mention potentially enormous damages demanded by victims for property damage and personal injury. When you factor in the potential loss of your driver’s license or employment, the picture of financial devastation becomes very clear.
As part of my bankruptcy practice, I help people get a fresh start from debt. Most of the time, these debts involve situations outside of my clients’ direct control. DUI is different because it involves a poor choice – and because bankruptcy offers minimal protection for damages caused by DUI for personal injury or death. These types of debts are not dischargeable in bankruptcy – even if there is no underlying charge or conviction or if the matter is resolved through the Alternative Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) process. While debts tied to personal injury or death are non-dischargeable, other damages, such as property damage or economic claims (such as wage loss claims), could be dischargeable. Courts will review the facts of each case to determine the debt’s dischargeability.
Most DUIs involving personal injury, death, or property damage will trigger a lawsuit or, at the very least, the threat of a lawsuit. Filing for bankruptcy imposes an “Automatic Stay,” which temporarily halts civil litigation. However, it does not stop criminal prosecution. The Automatic Stay nevertheless provides a window of opportunity to prepare a defense.
Navigating the complexities of bankruptcy due to debts resulting from incidents involving impairment by alcohol or drugs demands informed guidance. Hiring a firm such as CGA that has both bankruptcy and criminal law experience is essential. With the proper guidance, you can navigate this challenging process, working toward financial stability and resolution. Contact Brent Diefenderfer by calling 717-718-7127 or emailing [email protected].
Please be safe this holiday season, and don’t drive while impaired.
Brent C. Diefenderfer
Shareholder | Attorney
Brent C. Diefenderfer is a bankruptcy attorney representing clients throughout central Pennsylvania including York, Lancaster, Harrisburg and Gettysburg. Brent is certified as a Consumer Bankruptcy Specialist by the American Board of Certification and is one of only 25 attorneys in Pennsylvania to hold this designation.
Brent advises clients on implementing debt reduction strategies that are appropriate to their unique situation, including bankruptcy under Chapter 7, Chapter 13 or Chapter 11, creditor’s rights and non-bankruptcy debt reduction strategies.
Read Brent’s Bio Page in full HERE.