Aggravated Assault By Vehicle
PA DUI attorney In Chester County, PA
Charges of aggravated assault by vehicle caused by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Pennsylvania are serious. If you are facing these types of charges, it is critical for you to retain an experienced vehicular assault lawyer as soon as possible. If you are convicted of committing a DUI-related vehicular assault, you can face a sentence to prison, stiff fines, suspension of your driving privileges, and multiple collateral consequences. Having a criminal record can harm your reputation and cause the loss of your employment. Michael DiCindio at DiCindio Law is an experienced attorney who is prepared to fight for your rights and freedoms. Schedule a consultation to learn about the legal options that you have in your case.
Vehicular Aggravated Assault From DUI
Under 75 Pa.CS 3735.1, you can be charged with aggravated assault by a vehicle related to driving under the influence when you negligently another person to suffer serious bodily injury because of driving while you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Pennsylvania defines a serious bodily injury as any injury that poses a substantial risk of death, causes permanent, serious disfigurement, or causes impairment to or the loss of organs or bodily functions.
Before you can be found guilty of aggravated assault by a vehicle, you must first be found guilty of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol under 75 Pa.CS 3802.
To prove you are guilty of a DUI offense, the prosecutor has the burden to prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You drove, had actual physical control of, or operated a motor vehicle on a road in Pennsylvania.
- You drank enough alcohol to be impaired or had an alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher within two hours of when you drove; or
- You had a concentration of drugs in your system.
Being impaired by alcohol means that you were not capable of safely operating your vehicle. This means that your normal physical or mental capacities to drive a vehicle were impaired. This does not mean that you were severely intoxicated or engaged in erratic driving behaviors.
You do not have to be caught driving to be convicted of a DUI in Pennsylvania. If you were in actual physical control of your vehicle, you can be charged with a DUI. Being in actual physical control means that you must have control of your vehicle or be in a position to control its movement at the time of your arrest. For example, if an officer finds you sitting behind the wheel of a stopped vehicle with your keys in the ignition, that can be enough to charge you even if he or she did not see you driving.
Once a prosecutor proves that you committed a DUI offense beyond a reasonable doubt, he or she will then need to prove that you committed an aggravated vehicular assault.
Causation For Aggravated Vehicular Assault With A DUI In Chester County, PA
To find you guilty of committing a DUI aggravated assault, the jury must find that you directly caused the victim’s serious bodily injuries. Your actions must have been the substantial and direct factor that led to the victim’s injuries. Even if some other factors contributed to the injuries, you can be found guilty if your actions were one of the direct causes of the accident and injuries.
If an intervening factor caused the victims injuries, you will not be found guilty of aggravated assault. Intervening factors might include a different event, a third party’s actions, or the victim’s actions. However, your actions can still be found to be the direct cause of the injuries even when they were not the immediate cause. If your actions initiated a chain of events that caused the victim’s injuries, you can be found guilty of committing an aggravated vehicular assault.
The fact that a victim already had a preexisting physical condition will not be a defense to aggravated vehicular assault. If the accident caused the victim’s preexisting condition to substantially worsen, you can still be found guilty.
Penalties For An Aggravated Assault By A Vehicle With A DUI
If you are convicted of aggravated vehicular assault while you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it is a second-degree felony. This felony offense level can result in a prison sentence from five to 10 years and a fine of up to $25,000.
You will also face penalties for the underlying DUI offense. Pennsylvania has a three-tier system for DUI offenses based on your BAC level within two hours of your accident. The penalties for a DUI will depend on your BAC and your prior record. Your vehicular assault lawyer can explain the penalties that you might face if you are convicted of a DUI.
In addition to the other potential penalties, being convicted of vehicular aggravated assault can also result in losing your driving privileges for 12 months.
Talk To A DUI Aggravated Assault Attorney In Chester County, Pennsylvania
If you are facing charges of aggravated vehicular assault while driving under the influence, you should get legal help. Contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer at DiCindio Law to request a consultation. Michael DiCindio is a skilled defense attorney who has previous experience working as a prosecutor, and he understands how to defend against these types of allegations. Call us at 610.430.3535 to learn more about your case.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime in Pennsylvania, contact Mike DiCindio, Esq today at 610.220.4691!
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While many car accidents are just that, accidents, there is a few circumstances that may turn an accident into a criminal proceeding. Aggravated Assault by Vehicle is a very serious offense which has serious ramifications to the accused’s reputation, livelihood, and future.
When an individual causes serious bodily injury to another person while engaging a violation of any law of the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania which applies to driving will be guilty of a Felony of the Third Degree.
The key distinction between an accident and a case becoming a criminal matter is if the violation occurred with recklessness or with gross negligence. That becomes a question in which our case law in Pennsylvania has provided guidance. Nonetheless, these are serious situations and an allegation of committing Aggravated Assault by Vehicle can have a devastating impact on the individual accused. An aggressive defense must be mounted immediately in order to quickly and completely preserve evidence, evaluate potential defenses, and consult with expert witnesses about whether there are valid defenses to the allegations.
If you or a loved one is facing prosecution for an allegedly violation of the Aggravated Assault by Vehicle statute, contact Mike DiCindio directly to discuss your case and begin planning your defense.
Title 75 § 3732.1. Aggravated assault by vehicle. (Pennsylvania)
(a) Offense.–Any person who recklessly or with gross negligence causes serious bodily injury to another person while engaged in the violation of any law of this Commonwealth or municipal ordinance applying to the operation or use of a vehicle or to the regulation of traffic, except section 3802 (relating to driving under influence of alcohol or controlled substance), is guilty of aggravated assault by vehicle, a felony of the third degree when the violation is the cause of the injury.
(1) In addition to any other penalty provided by law, a person convicted of a violation of subsection (a) may be sentenced to an additional term not to exceed two years’ confinement if at trial the prosecution proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the offense occurred in an active work zone.
(2) In addition to any other penalty provided by law, a person convicted of a violation of subsection (a) as the result of a violation of section 3325 (relating to duty of driver on approach of emergency vehicle) or 3327 (relating to duty of driver in emergency response areas) and who is convicted of violating section 3325 or 3327 may be sentenced to an additional term not to exceed two years’ confinement when the violation resulted in serious bodily injury.
(3) The prosecution must indicate intent to proceed under this section in the indictment or information which commences the prosecution.
(4) The Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing, under 42 Pa.C.S. § 2154 (relating to adoption of guidelines for sentencing), shall provide for a sentencing enhancement for an offense under this section when the violation occurred in an active work zone or was the result of a violation of section 3325 or 3327.
The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant. The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended solely for informational purposes.
Michael D. DiCindio, Esq. is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer who represents individuals accused of crimes throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale