U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

It's Not an "Accident": It's a Crime!

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2018
2 pages
Emphasizing that a drunk-driving vehicle crash should be viewed by police as a violent crime that can cause the death or injury of victims, this brochure encourages first-responder police officers to focus on victim services for all directly affected by the crime, viewing them as victims of a violent crime.
Officers' initial response to a DUI crash is a key factor in whether or not a victim ultimately receives crime-victim services and assistance. Officers should always encourage victims to seek immediate medical attention, even if no signs of injury are obvious; for example, DUI crash victims may have brain injuries without any outward wound on the skull. In addition to referring DUI crash victims to a crime-victim services provider, officers should provide victims or their survivors with written contact information on state crime victim compensation programs. Program funds are available for crime victims in paying for medical care, counseling, lost income, funeral bills, and many other expenses incurred by DUI victims or their survivors. It is important for officers to complete and file promptly reports that will be important in establishing grounds for victim compensation. The federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) authorizes funds to a state's VOCA administering agency that can be supplied to local law enforcement agencies to assist DUI crash victims through an agency's crime victim assistance unit.

Date Published: April 1, 2018