A person that threatens or injures another person with a motor vehicle may face a form of an assault charge. In Colorado, reckless vehicular assault is a class 5 felony with a possible jail time of up to 6 years. This crime is often associated with other traffic misdemeanors, such as driving under the influence (DUI), driving without a license, and reckless driving.
Possible repercussions and specific information about the case can be explained by an expert Colorado Springs criminal defense lawyer. For example, a driver may face both reckless driving and vehicular assault charges if they harm somebody while using their vehicle at an unrestrained speed. Combined convictions also warrant a graver sentence with a class 4 felony indictable by up to 12 years in prison.
Is Getting a Lawyer Necessary?
When a person faces a vehicular assault charge, hiring a Colorado Springs criminal defense lawyer brings expert counsel on all legal matters. The law is complex and constantly changing per state, and every case is different. So, getting the opinion of an experienced attorney is beneficial.
Should You Go for Public Defenders or Private Lawyers?
Since anyone accused of a criminal offense typically has the right to legal counsel, the defendant can certainly hire from a private firm. In cases that they cannot afford to hire one, the court will appoint a lawyer from the public defender’s office.
Public defenders work with numerous criminal cases, including DUIs and vehicular assault charges, so they know their way around vehicular traffic laws, defenses, and even district attorneys and judges. They also usually have enormous caseloads, which can affect how hands-on they will be with an individual’s case. And since it is a court-mandated arrangement, public attorneys cannot choose a case, nor the defendants pick their preferred legal counsel.
Private lawyers cost a significant amount of money. However, hiring an expert criminal defense lawyer from an exclusive law firm may increase the chances of a lighter sentence and even acquittal since they focus on one case with all their in-depth knowledge of traffic laws and defenses. They can answer as many questions as the defendant would ask and address all of their concerns.
What Are the Defenses for Vehicular Assault?
The usual approach to vehicular assault defenses is the same regardless if they’re coupled with reckless driving or a DUI. The first thing to consider is the assessment of the accident by a certified expert. The accident reconstruction may include scene measurements, the presence of skid marks, gauge marks, yaw marks, and other material evidence.
Second, but still, on a case-to-case basis, the defense needs to substantiate that the accused was not reckless. Lousy driving on its own is not enough to prove recklessness. The court often requires more to determine if the driver operated their vehicle with a conscious disregard. DUI defenses are also integrated into the approach if substances like alcohol or drugs were a factor.
The subsequent motions applied in a vehicular assault case may include an in-depth investigation of the procedures after the accident. The nature of the initial police contact, if and how they did the field sobriety tests, and whether the accused were Mirandized can affect the prosecutor’s case. The defendant’s legal counsel may also support their defense by exposing unreliability in the litigation with possibly erroneous crime scene findings or any irregularities in the forensic testing.
Is the Victim Equally Liable?
The plaintiff’s possible contributory negligence is not part of an effective defense in Colorado. The defendant may get partial liability if the victim’s actions are proven to be an intervening cause, which means that the plaintiff’s conduct could have caused more harm to themselves after being affected by the defendant’s actions.
Why You Shouldn’t Go to Trial Alone
There are significant downsides to people representing themselves in court, even though the U.S. justice system allows it. For someone who is not well versed in legal jargon, the court proceedings can be too complicated to follow. Judges and jury members usually don’t take kindly to self-representing defendants who appear to be clueless.
A vehicular assault charge is a serious offense that needs deliberate mitigation. Hire a criminal defense attorney for thorough and comprehensive legal representation throughout the case.