Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious criminal offense in Colorado. If a driver under the influence causes a crash that injures someone else, the penalties could be even more severe. Prosecutors in Colorado might choose to charge you with DUI with injury, which is also referred to as “vehicular assault.”
The consequences of a DUI with injury conviction could be steep fines, restitution to the victim, revocation of your drivers’ license, and even prison time, depending on the circumstances. These are not charges that you should take lightly. Fortunately, being arrested and charged with vehicular assault does not guarantee that you’ll be convicted or that the maximum penalties will be imposed. You have the right to fight back against these charges. Turn to the skilled DUI with bodily injury defense lawyers at Patterson Weaver Law, LLC for help.
Life happens. Let us Help. Contact us today for a confidential consultation.
DUI With Injury Penalties
Under Colorado Revised Statutes 18-3-205, a motorist could be charged with vehicular assault if they cause a DUI injury accident. The potential DUI car accident penalties you face include:
- Up to six years in prison
- Fines of up to $500,000
- Victim restitution
- Suspension of your driver’s license
Vehicular Assault Prosecution
Law enforcement and prosecutors in Colorado take DUI offenses seriously and will aggressively pursue a conviction when the crime harms another person. This is why it is imperative you hire a felony DUI attorney who has the skills and experience necessary to defend you.
Because a DUI with Injury charge and its consequences can have a significant impact on your life and your livelihood, your lawyer will need to work diligently to build a strong defense against the charges you face.
What to Expect From the DUI Court Process
If you have never been arrested on suspicion of DUI before, you are likely unfamiliar with the DUI court process. The following are the typical steps the process will take:
First, if a police officer stops you and believes you are driving under the influence, they might conduct roadside tests. They will arrest you if they have reason to think you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Afterward, they might take you to the hospital or police station for further testing, including blood or urine samples.
If law enforcement confirms that you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit, you might be charged with driving under the influence.
At the arraignment, you will have a chance to hear the charges brought against you.
You will be allowed to submit a plea of either guilty, not guilty, or no contest. Pleading no contest means you are neither pleading guilty nor not guilty but accept the conviction. If you plead guilty, the judge will finalize your sentence, and your case will conclude.
If you plead not guilty, this allows your attorney to work on your case during the pre-trial phase. Your lawyer will review your charges, the evidence the state has against you, and the details of your case to build a defense strategy.
During this portion of the process, pre-trial conferences or motions may occur. Additionally, the prosecution might offer a plea deal.
A plea deal is an agreement between you and the prosecution in which you agree to plead guilty in exchange for some benefit, usually reduced punishment.
Your DUI lawyer will guide you in deciding what your best options are. In some cases, accepting a plea deal may make sense. If so, your attorney will negotiate to get you the best possible deal. In other situations, your lawyer will advise against accepting a plea deal.
Pre-trial is a critical phase in your case. It allows your DUI attorney to use their knowledge and skills to work toward a favorable outcome.
Not all cases go to trial. Many cases end when a defendant accepts a plea deal or if the prosecution decides to drop the charges. However, if your lawyer believes it is in your best interest to go to trial, you can proceed.
Your trial may be a bench trial, which is held solely in front of a judge. Alternatively, it can be a jury trial. It is up to you and your attorney to decide which type of trial will be in your best interest.
The judge or the jury will find you guilty or not guilty at trial. If you’re found guilty, you will face sentencing. If you’re found not guilty, your case will be over.
How Does the Prosecutor Prove You Are Guilty?
For a prosecutor in Colorado to prove you are guilty of DUI with Injury, they must prove two things:
- You were operating the vehicle under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both, and
- You caused the crash that led to the victim’s injuries.
DUI With Injury is a strict liability crime, meaning the prosecutor does not have to prove what your mental state or intent was when committing the act. You do not have to have been trying to drive under the influence or to hurt someone. Simply driving the vehicle while under the influence is enough to secure a conviction if that action proximately caused the other person’s injury.
The prosecutor will use any available evidence against you, including your blood alcohol content (BAC) tests, roadside sobriety test results, video evidence, and more.
During the pre-trial phase, your felony DUI attorney will have the chance to review the evidence and will use that discovery to shape your defense.
Possible Defenses to Vehicular Assault
Depending on the circumstances of your case, some defenses could be used to justify your acquittal. Possible defenses include:
- You were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- The tests conducted to determine your BAC produced inaccurate results
- Law enforcement did not follow proper procedure during the traffic stop or the arrest
- The accident was not caused by drugs or alcohol, but other factors
If you were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol but did not cause an accident or injure anyone, you might face regular DUI charges.
On the other hand, if you were driving under the influence and caused an accident resulting in death, the charges and consequences could be more severe. In this instance, you might be charged with DUI vehicular homicide.
Why You Should Hire a Lawyer
Hiring a defense attorney with specific experience handling DUI with Injury charges can give you peace of mind knowing your case is in the right hands. Your lawyer’s goal will be to secure the best possible outcome for your case. Depending on the evidence against you and the specifics of your case, your lawyer might:
- Investigate the circumstances of your arrest
- Review the evidence against you
- Negotiate a plea deal
- Prepare a solid defense strategy
- Defend you in court
A DUI with Injury charge could have a wide-ranging and lasting impact on your life and future. Discuss your case with a lawyer as soon as possible.
Contact Patterson Weaver Law, LLC Today
If you’re facing a DUI with serious bodily injury charge in Colorado Springs, don’t panic. The Colorado Springs DUI lawyers at Patterson Weaver Law, LLC understand the fear and stress you’re facing. We’re ready to provide the knowledgeable legal counsel you need and deserve. We are here to stand up and fight for you.