In Colorado, the crime of Vehicular Assault is defined by Colorado Revised Statute 18-3-205. This law makes it a felony for a driver to operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs or in a reckless manner and cause serious bodily injury to another.
The definitions and sentences for Colorado Vehicular Assault charges are as follows:
Vehicular Assault – Class 4 Felony: The defendant unlawfully drove or operated a motor vehicle in Colorado while under the influence by alcohol, or drugs, or both alcohol and drugs, and the conduct was the proximate cause of serious bodily injury to the alleged victim, in violation of 18-1-305(1)(b), C.R.S.
Sentencing Range for Vehicular Assault – Class 4 Felony: 2-6 years in prison is the presumptive range; up to 12 years if a judge finds extraordinary aggravating circumstances.
Vehicular Assault – Class 5 Felony: The defendant unlawfully drove or operated a motor vehicle in Colorado in a reckless manner, and the conduct was the proximate cause of serious bodily injury to the alleged victim, in violation of 18-1-305(1)(a), C.R.S.
Sentencing Range for Vehicular Assault – Class 5 Felony: 1-3 years in prison is the presumptive range; up to 6 years if a judge finds extraordinary aggravating circumstances.
There are several differences in Colorado between a DUI charge and a Vehicular Assault charge. Some of those differences are as follows:
There is currently no felony DUI in Colorado, regardless of how many prior alcohol-related offenses the driver has. Vehicular Assault, however, is a felony even for a first time offender. If you have been charged with Vehicular Assault in Colorado, it is likely that the prosecutor will seek a prison sentence due to the serious injuries to the alleged victim and the media exposure that follows such a case.
Colorado law allows a police officer to physically restrain a driver and obtain a forced blood draw if the officer has probable cause to believe the driver committed a Vehicular Assault. Therefore, unlike a DUI, a police officer is not required to request the driver submit to a blood test when the officer has a legal basis to believe the driver committed a felony assault in conjunction with a DUI.
Vehicular Assault is considered a “victim’s rights crime” under Colorado law, which means the prosecutor is required to communicate any potential plea bargain offers to the alleged victim and seek the alleged victim’s input into any plea bargain or sentencing stipulation before making you and your defense team an offer. Therefore, negotiating a fair disposition in vehicular assault cases can be difficult because of the anger and resentment the alleged victim and his or her family likely feel over the accident and the injuries sustained.
Most evidence in these cases is collected at the scene of the accident, so it is imperative for an attorney to begin investigating immediately. In a Vehicular Assault case, a DUI defense attorney will need to visit the accident scene and begin negotiating with the prosecutor before the media and the alleged victim’s family have the opportunity to influence the case in a negative fashion.
If you have been charged with Vehicular Assault in Colorado, the experienced DUI defense attorneys at Tiftickjian Law Firm, P.C. can achieve the best result possible in your case. Led by top-rated DUI defense attorney Jay Tiftickjian, Tiftickjian Law Firm, P.C. has achieved excellent results for clients charged with Vehicular Assault and other serious offenses due to an accident involving a DUI or reckless driving. If you have been charged with Vehicular Assault in Colorado, call Tiftickjian Law Firm, P.C. at (303) DUI-5280 or contact us through this website.