Driving under the influence is a serious offense to begin with. It becomes even more serious when someone is hurt in a DUI accident. In Colorado, if you are driving under the influence and cause a crash in which someone is injured, you can be charged with both DUI and vehicular assault. If another person is killed, the crime becomes vehicular homicide.
What Is Vehicular Assault?
A person commits vehicular assault, or DUI causing bodily injury, if he or she operates or drives a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs, and this conduct is the proximate cause of bodily injury to another person. “Driving under the influence” is defined as driving a vehicle after consuming alcohol, drugs, or a combination, to a degree that the person is substantially incapable, either mentally, physically, or both, of exercising clear judgment, sufficient physical control, and due care in the safe operation of the vehicle.
To prove DUI causing bodily injury, the prosecution must establish that:
- You were driving the vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both; and
- This behavior was the direct cause of serious bodily injury sustained by another person.
What Are the Penalties for Vehicular Assault?
Vehicular assault involving DUI is charged as a Class 4 felony, as stated at Colorado Revised Statutes 18-3-205. Penalties can vary, depending on the defendant’s criminal record and drunk driving history. Penalties for DUI causing injury may include:
- Prison term of two to six years
- Mandatory minimum of three years parole
- Fines of up to $500,000
- Revocation of driver’s license for one year
- Restitution to injured victims
What Are the Penalties for Vehicular Homicide in Colorado?
Vehicular homicide is charged when someone driving a motor vehicle in a reckless manner or under the influence of alcohol or drugs causes a crash that is fatal for another person. This is a felony offense. When vehicular homicide involves reckless driving, it is punishable by two to six years in prison and a fine of $2,000 to $500,000. When driving under the influence leads to vehicular homicide, the crime is a Class 3 felony with penalties that may include a prison sentence of four to 12 years and a fine of $3,000 to $750,000.
What Are the Legal Defenses Against DUI Causing Injury and Vehicular Homicide?
If you are facing charges of vehicular assault (DUI causing injury) or vehicular homicide, it is important to fight aggressively against the charges. Depending on the specific offense and the circumstances surrounding the incident, our Colorado criminal defense lawyer can raise legal defenses that may include the following:
- You were not the person operating the vehicle.
- You were not driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Your breath test or blood test was not conducted properly.
- The police violated your rights or failed to advise you of your rights.
Why Is It Important to Contact a Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer?
Colorado is tough on driving under the influence, particularly when someone else is hurt or killed. You could go to prison upon conviction of DUI causing injury or vehicular homicide. It is in your best interests to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney with the knowledge and skills to protect your rights and fight for your freedom.
At Welsh Law, LLC, our Colorado criminal defense lawyer can examine the prosecution’s case against you for any flaw and raise every possible defense against the charges. We use our skills and experience to fight on your behalf. Contact us at (720) 836-1777. We can explain your options under the law and our legal strategies to achieve the best possible outcome.