Vehicular Aggravated Assault
Prosecutors in Arizona file many cases that we call “vehicular aggravated assault” cases. In general, these are cases where an injury resulted from a car accident.
Keep in mind that in Arizona, assault is most commonly charged under one of two theories:
- the defendant intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly caused an injury to another person;
- the defendant placed another in reasonable apprehension of immediate injury.
Also keep in mind that assault in Arizona is considered Aggravated Assault (a felony) if either:
- the injury caused is “serious” or
- the defendant uses a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument to commit the assault.
Aggravated Assault Involving A Vehicle Is A Felony
In the typical vehicular aggravated assault case, a defendant will be charged with aggravated assault if a car accident occurs, another person is seriously injured, and the defendant was found to have alcohol or drugs in their system at the time of the accident. Most people are dumbfounded that they can be facing a felony conviction with severe penalties (lengthy prison sentences) for a car accident, but here is how the State argues these charges.
A Motor Vehicle Is A Deadly Weapon In The Eyes Of The Law
The prosecutor will argue that someone who has consumed alcohol or drugs is “reckless” if they then choose to get behind a wheel, and that this “recklessness” caused the accident which resulted in an injury. And because under Arizona law a motor vehicle is considered a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, not only does the accident now become an aggravated assault charge, but it also becomes a “dangerous felony offense” which results in a mandatory prison sentence upon conviction even if the defendant has no prior criminal convictions at all. Usually, vehicular aggravated assault is charged as a class 2 dangerous felony which results in a prison sentence of 7 to 21 years if there is a conviction.
Because of the dramatic consequences for a vehicular aggravated assault, a skilled criminal defense attorney needs to get involved right away.
The Need For A Skilled Attorney
The attorneys at Lane, Hupp, & Crowley, PLC have successfully defended many vehicular aggravated assault cases. There are several defenses to vehicular aggravated assault charges that the attorneys at Lane, Hupp, & Crowley, PLC have used successfully.
For example, the State has to prove that the defendant’s “recklessness” (usually his impairment by alcohol or drugs) caused the accident and injury. We often work with expert accident reconstructionist to look at the State’s evidence and determine all the potential causes of an accident. Specifically, just because someone has alcohol in their system doesn’t mean they were at fault in the accident. Mechanical problems with their car or conditions of the roadway could have caused the accident. Or maybe the person who was injured really caused the accident.
The attorneys at Lane, Hupp, & Crowley, PLC know how to work with experts to review accident reports, witness statements, scene diagrams, and other roadway measurements to determine all the contributing factors to an accident.