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If you were driving and seriously injured someone else, you may face vehicular aggravated assault charges. This is a dangerous felony, and penalties can be harsh even for first offenders. You need representation from a skilled attorney to protect your way of life.
When you face charges after a car accident, contact a Citrus Park vehicular aggravated assault lawyer. Grand Canyon Law Group is here to listen to your situation and explain your legal options.
Intentionally or recklessly causing another person to suffer a significant physical injury is aggravated assault, according to Arizona Revised Statutes §13-1204. Using a weapon or dangerous instrument to harm someone is also aggravated assault.
The law considers a car or other motor vehicle a dangerous instrument. Intentionally using a vehicle to hurt someone or recklessly cause harm, such as a drunk driving accident, could lead to vehicular aggravated assault charges.
The severity of the charge and punishment depends on multiple factors. However, vehicular aggravated assault is always a “dangerous” felony, which Arizona law treats more harshly than non-dangerous felonies. Our Citrus Park attorneys can explain the vehicular aggravated assault charges and penalties that would apply in a specific case.
Vehicular aggravated assault is often a Class 3 dangerous felony. Under the state’s sentencing guidelines, the presumptive prison sentence for a first offense is seven years and six months, but the sentence could range from five to 15 years. Defendants also face a $150,000 fine. If the defendant has one prior felony conviction, the sentence could range from 10 to 20 years, with a presumptive sentence of 11 years and three months.
The victim’s identity could heighten the severity of the charge to a Class 2 dangerous felony. This designation applies if the person who suffered injuries in the incident was under 15. Vehicular aggravated assault is also a Class 2 dangerous felony if the victim is a police officer.
The presumptive sentence for a first offender is 10.5 years but could range from seven to 21 years. The judge could also impose a $150,000 fine. For a second felony offense, the sentence could range from 14 to 28 years. A defendant should work with a skilled vehicular aggravated assault lawyer in Citrus Park to mitigate or avoid these harsh penalties.
A conviction for a dangerous felony threatens a person’s liberty and future opportunities. Defending vehicular aggravated assault charges is often complicated, so working with an experienced local attorney is essential.
In any criminal case, our lawyers work to ensure that law enforcement officials do not violate the accused’s rights. We can investigate whether there was reasonable cause for any police action, whether the police informed the accused of their rights, and whether the police took inappropriate actions during their investigation. Other possible defenses might contest the facts a prosecutor must prove to get a conviction on vehicular aggravated assault charges.
Vehicular aggravated assault is not an appropriate charge if the alleged victim did not suffer serious injuries. Prosecutors often over-charge a defendant to give themselves leverage to negotiate. A savvy Citrus Park attorney could question whether the alleged victim’s injuries warrant aggravated assault charges.
Recklessness is an element in aggravating an assault charge. Reviewing police dashcam footage, surveillance video, witness statements, and other evidence might demonstrate that the accused was not driving recklessly when the accident occurred.
If the accused’s conduct was not reckless, the prosecutor must prove they intended to harm the alleged victim. Evidence of intent is almost always circumstantial, and challenging the prosecutor’s evidence with alternative explanations could be a viable defense strategy.
Vehicular aggravated assault charges often result from accidents where the driver was allegedly drunk or high. Getting behind the wheel while impaired is a reckless act that could justify the charges. However, prosecutors must prove the driver’s impairment.
A seasoned Citrus Park lawyer understands how to defeat DUI and vehicular aggravated assault charges. Our legal team could question the officer’s competence in administering sobriety tests, allege that the equipment used to assess impairment was improperly calibrated, or dispute the lab’s record. This could help prevent a conviction on a vehicular aggravated assault charge involving alleged drunk driving.
Vehicular aggravated assault is a serious crime with significant, life-long consequences upon conviction. You need to approach your case from a position of strength to protect your way of life.
Call a Citrus Park vehicular aggravated assault lawyer as soon as you are arrested. At Grand Canyon Law Group, we will put our experience and legal knowledge to work for you. Contact us today to learn how we can fight for your rights.