Injuring another person with your car is a traumatic event under any circumstances. It can often carry substantial legal consequences too, especially when alcohol or drugs play a role. Those consequences can include prison time, fines and license suspensions. Aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence is a serious crime in Pennsylvania, and defendants facing these charges need expert advice.
If you are facing aggravated assault while DUI charges in the Pennsylvania area, call Brian Manchester, an experienced aggravated assault while DUI defense attorney in Pennsylvania. Call today. It is important to start working on your defense right away.
Aggravated Assault While DUI vs. Its Simpler Cousin in Pennsylvania
Aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence, or aggravated DUI, is an offshoot of a similar crime in Pennsylvania, aggravated assault by vehicle. Under this statute, it is a third-degree felony to recklessly or with gross negligence cause serious bodily injury to another person while violating a traffic law. Penalties for basic aggravated assault by vehicle can include as many as seven years in prison, though a major prison sentence is unlikely for a first offense; probation or a jail sentence of a few months is more likely. Committing this crime in a work zone, while failing to pull over for an emergency vehicle or while passing an emergency vehicle on the side of the road in an unsafe manner can add an additional two years in prison.
Aggravated Assault While DUI: Stiffer Penalties in Pennsylvania
By contrast, aggravated DUI is treated as a second-degree felony in Pennsylvania. Like vehicular homicide while driving under the influence, it is known as a felony DUI. The penalties are stiffer than they are for simple aggravated assault by vehicle, while the standards prosecutors must meet to win a conviction are lower, putting defendants in a precarious position. All this increases the necessity of expert legal advice. A driver is guilty of aggravated DUI in Pennsylvania if she negligently causes serious bodily injury to another person while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, if the impaired driving caused the injury, and if she is subsequently convicted of a DUI. The maximum penalties for this kind of aggravated assault by vehicle are harsher, and jail time is more likely: A driver could face as many as 10 years in prison, though on a first offense several months in jail is more likely, and a one-year license suspension is mandatory. The elements of the crime are also easier for prosecutors to prove. Whereas basic aggravated assault by vehicle is a crime that involves reckless or grossly negligent behavior, aggravated DUI requires only simple negligent behavior, which is a much lower standard.
Aggravated Assault While DUI: A Defense in Pennsylvania
It’s important to fight every element of your case if you’ve been arrested for a driving offense that involves the use of alcohol or drugs. Pennsylvania law is complex when it comes to DUIs. It may be possible to head off a charge of aggravated DUI by attacking the underlying DUI charge (which is known as a “lesser included offense”), possibly by raising challenges to police procedure or the reliability of blood alcohol tests.