No one pulls out of the driveway to take a ride intending to do bodily harm to another person. But we know that a car is a dangerous piece of equipment, and accidents do happen. When they do, people sometimes get hurt. They sometimes even get killed. If you were the driver of a car that caused an injury or fatality in an accident, you are probably racked with remorse. But that’s not all you may be dealing with: you may be facing charges of vehicular assault or vehicular homicide.
Of course there was no intent to do harm to anyone. It was an accident. Regardless of the fact that there was no desire on your part to hurt another person, the law in Colorado says that you can still be found guilty of assault or homicide in either of two situations:
Reckless driving is a term that seems a bit vague and more than a little subjective. Statute Title 42, Article 4, Part 14, defines a reckless driver as “a person who drives a motor vehicle . . . in such a manner as to indicate either a wanton or a willful disregard for the safety of persons or property.” Technically, you would have to be guilty of more than simple bad driving. But this is where you are probably going to need a skilled attorney with access to accident reconstruction experts to look into the causes of the accident. The investigation will be aimed at showing that even if you made a mistake, you were not “wantonly or willingly” driving without regard for the safety of others, but that it was just an accident, possibly even an accident caused by another driver.
Vehicular assault and vehicular homicide are felonies. The penalties are severe and depend on the extent of the injury you caused.
Vehicular assault caused by reckless driving is a Class 5 felony that can get you a sentence of anywhere from six months up to six years in prison, followed by two years of parole. In addition, you could be required to pay fines of between $1000 and $100,000. You will be a convicted felon, which could mean the loss of your right to vote, own a gun, or hold public office. You might also have difficulty finding housing and employment or getting financial aid to attend college or receive vocational training.
Vehicular homicide is even more serious and is classified as a Class 4 felony. If you’re convicted of vehicular homicide, you could go to prison for between two and six years ordinarily, but as long as 12 years with special circumstances, followed by three years of mandatory parole, and possible fines of $2000 to $500,000.
If drugs or alcohol are involved, the charges go to the next higher category: a DUI or DWAI vehicular assault a Class 4 felony, with the penalties stated above.
A DUI or DWAI vehicular homicide is a Class 3 felony which could mean a possible prison sentence of four to twelve years, but as much as twenty-four years with exceptional circumstances, followed by mandatory five years of parole, and $3000 to $750,000 in fines.
Because the penalties and long-term consequences of a felony conviction are so severe and life-altering, you should engage the services of the best criminal defense attorney you can find. A rising star in the Colorado Springs legal community is Steven Rodemer, an experienced, skilled, and innovative defense lawyer and former prosecutor who has earned the respect of other lawyers, judges, and clients. To protect your future, contact the Law Offices of Steven Rodemer immediately for the best possible outcome if you’ve been charged with either of these extremely serious crimes.