CRIMINAL DEFENSE • DISCIPLINARY INVESTIGATIONS & HEARINGS

New York law defines three kinds of vehicular assault

Posted March 11, 2015

A driver who injures a person in a traffic accident can be in serious trouble, and if alcohol is involved, or if certain other facts can be proved, the accident can become a criminal offense. A New York driver who injures a person while operating a motor vehicle can be charged with three kinds of vehicular assault: vehicular assault in the first degree, vehicular assault in the second degree, and aggravated vehicular assault.

Vehicular assault in the second degree consists of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and injuring a person. If the prosecutor establishes that the accused had a blood alcohol content in excess of the legal limit of 0.08{e7aaffd771c1d72ed73aa4f2b2654701d87584ba154d7edc68255dac3d0c1e84}, the defendant must rebut the legal presumption that the intoxication caused the accident.

A person can be convicted of vehicular assault in the first degree if the accident caused injury to another person, and the driver either (1) has a blood alcohol content in excess of 0.18{e7aaffd771c1d72ed73aa4f2b2654701d87584ba154d7edc68255dac3d0c1e84}, (2) knows or should know that his or her drivers’ license has been suspended New York or by another state for driving while intoxicated, (3) has previously been convicted in New York for driving while intoxicated, (4) causes the death of more than one person, or (5) has been previously convicted of vehicle assault in the second degree. As with second degree vehicular assault, proof that the driver’s blood alcohol content exceeded 0.08{e7aaffd771c1d72ed73aa4f2b2654701d87584ba154d7edc68255dac3d0c1e84} creates a rebuttable presumption that the intoxication caused the accident.

Aggravated vehicular assault requires proof that the defendant engaged in “reckless driving” and is guilty of second degree vehicular assault.

Vehicular assault of any kind is a serious crime. Any person charged with any of these crimes should consult an attorney with experienced in these kinds of cases for an evaluation of the facts, an assessment of the probable outcome and preparation of a defense strategy.

Source: New York Penal Code, Section 120, Assault and Related Offenses, accessed March 8, 2015

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