Charged with vehicular assault in Colorado? Learn what you’re facing.
If you are found to be operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Colorado, the penalties are stiff. If someone is hurt or killed as a result of the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the penalties get much stiffer.
Vehicular assault is either considered a class 4 felony, or a class 5 felony depending on the circumstances. Vehicular assault in Colorado occurs when both of the following are true:
- An individual drives a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol; and
- Serious bodily injury or death occurs as a result of that individual driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
A driver can also be charged with vehicular assault if they operate a motor vehicle in a reckless manner and that results in serious bodily injury or death to another driver, a pedestrian, or a passenger.
What is “Serious Bodily Injury” Under Colorado Law?
Legal concepts have strict definitions to avoid ambiguity under the law. Here, a “serious bodily injury” is defined as:
- Posing a substantial risk of death;
- Posing a substantial risk of permanent disfigurement;
- Posing a substantial risk of bodily impairment;
- Broken or fractured bones; or
- Second or third-degree burns.
In other words, if any of those are present, it will be considered a “serious bodily injury” under the law.
The Penalties for Vehicular Assault in Colorado
Colorado has very stiff penalties for vehicular assault. They are stiffer for those who have been found driving under the influence.
Vehicular assault resulting from reckless driving is considered a class 5 felony. The penalties for a class 5 felony include:
- 1 to 3 years in prison with a mandatory 2-year parole; and/or
- a fine of $1000 to $100,000.
If the vehicular result stemmed from intoxicated driving, the vehicular assault is considered a class 4 felony. A class 4 felony is punishable by:
- 2 to 6 years in prisonwith a mandatory 3-year parole; and/or
- a fine of $2000 to $500,000.
Defending against Vehicular Assault Charges in Colorado
When being charged with vehicular assault, your best bet is to retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands your charges and the best way to defend you. The goal, of course, is to avoid jail time.
However, the prosecution is going to claim that as a direct result of your negligence and carelessness, another person was seriously hurt and could have very easily died or did die. Cases of vehicular assault are generally prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
You, on the other hand, have made a tragic mistake. You never intended to hurt anyone.
There are two different kinds of defenses for vehicular assault: those that mitigate your guilt, and those that deny your guilt.
For instance, you might claim that this is your first DUI offense, that you never meant to hurt anyone, and you are extremely remorseful for what has occurred. You will willingly make any and all restitution to the victim, and you will never drive under the influence again.
On the other hand, you might also claim that you weren’t the one operating the car when the accident occurred. You can say a friend of yours was operating a car that you own because they were the designated driver. This is effective in cases where a witness only has a license plate to go on.
Either way, you need an attorney who will fight for your rights under the law. Miller Leonard, PC has experience defending clients from vehicular assault. Give us a call at (720) 613-8783 or contact us online, and we’ll ensure you get the best defense possible.