Vehicular assault can be charged in two degrees, the lower being a class E felony and the higher being class D. This means that regardless of the degree in which the offense is charged, significant time served can be the result if the case is not handled properly by attorneys who will fight for the defendant’s rights. When facing any type of criminal charges, it is always important to have an attorney you can trust by your side, one to help you navigate the complex court procedures. Our experienced team of New York criminal attorneys are here to help, call now for a free consultation.
The first set of actions that would lead to the lower offense being charged would be when a person has operated a motor vehicle and as a result of drugs, alcohol, or a combination or the two, operates the motor vehicle in such a manner that causes serious physical injury to another. Additionally, if a person operates a motor vehicle with a gross weight of more than 18,000 pounds that contains radioactive material, explosives or flammable gas and due to the impairment of alcohol causes serious physical injury to another, this level of the offense will apply.
The law even further states that operating a snowmobile under the impairment of drugs, alcohol, or a combination of the two and causes serious physical injury to another person, the E felony charge would apply. If the person who is operating the motor vehicle or snowmobile was unlawfully impaired or intoxicated through the use of drugs or alcohol, there is a presumption that the resulting serious physical injury was caused by the intoxication or impairment.
For the higher offense of vehicular assault in the first degree to apply, a person would have committed the offense of vehicular assault in the second degree and has committed the offense while their blood alcohol content was .18 or more. The level of the blood alcohol content can be analyzed though the person’s urine, breath or saliva to verify the level of alcohol content.
Additionally, if they commit the lower offense while knowing, or having reason to know, that their privilege to drive or license in the state where their license was issued, or any other state, and the loss of privilege or license is due to refusal to submit to a chemical test or following a conviction for a driving with under the influence offense.
If a person has caused serious physical injury to more than one person or has previously been convicted of the lower offense within the past ten years, the higher offense will also apply. The final way in which this higher offense would apply is if they are operating a motor vehicle under the conditions above and have done so with a passenger who is fifteen years of age or younger and cause serious physical injury to the passenger child.
Regardless of which level of the offense has been charged, both can lead to extremely complex and confusing for someone who is not familiar with the court system. Our experience New York criminal attorneys are here to help and answer what questions you may have following being charged with vehicular assault.