If you are involved in a drunk driving accident and hurt another driver or passenger, you could be charged with both DUI as well as vehicular assault, and you will need a Colorado criminal defense attorney to help you face these serious criminal traffic offenses. While vehicular assault charges aren’t very common, they can result in major legal consequences such as mandatory time in jail and very high fines. An attorney with experience in criminal traffic offenses, DUI and other criminal charges can best create a defense strategy that is targeted towards the specific circumstances of your motor vehicle accident.
To be charged with vehicular assault, the accident must be clearly your fault and cause “serious bodily injury” to another person, whether that is a driver or passenger in another car. Unlike other assault charges, intent does not matter; the accident constitutes assault with a weapon: a motor vehicle. Your attorney can defend you against these types of criminal traffic charges by challenging evidence pertaining to any part of these charges. An experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney can recreate the accident for the court to show that you were not at fault, or your defense can also attempt to prove that the injuries of the other driver do not constitute serious bodily harm.
In cases of vehicular assault involving drunk driving, the driver is automatically charged with felony vehicular assault if they have a BAC of over 0.08% because driving while legally drunk is considered negligent, which means that the driver caused the accident. In order to get charges reduced or dismissed, a defense lawyer can also challenge the DUI portion of your charges by evidence was faulty or not gathered according to proper procedures.
According to the State of Colorado website about DUI penalties, committing vehicular assault while under the influence is a Class 4 felony. Colorado drivers convicted of a class 4 felony can face anywhere from 2 to 6 years in prison, even up to 8 if circumstances warrant a harsher sentence.