Glenn R. Bruno, Esq.
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Aggravated vehicular assault in New York

Motorists in New York may face vehicular assault charges when they cause serious injuries to others while driving under the intoxicated influence of alcohol or drugs. However, they could receive a stronger aggravated vehicular assault charge, which is a class C felony, in some situations. This is a very serious charge and can lead to a custodial sentence of up to 15 years in addition to fines and a lengthy driving ban.

Drivers with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or higher are considered intoxicated in New York, and a charge of vehicular assault may be elevated to aggravated vehicular assault if toxicology tests performed after a serious accident reveal that the motorist responsible had a blood alcohol level of .18 percent or higher. This charge may also be leveled against individuals who have lost their driving privileges in New York or elsewhere for driving under the influence or refusing to submit to a legally required breath or blood test.

Having a prior DWI either in New York or another state within the last 10 years could also lead to a charge of aggravated vehicular assault following a crash that causes serious injuries, and drivers may also face this charge if they have passengers in their vehicles who are 15 years of age or younger who are injured. The law went into effect in New York in November 2007.

The penalties for aggravated vehicular assault show that the consequences of a felony DWI conviction can be severe in New York. Criminal defense attorneys may seek to have felony charges reduced by challenging the evidence collected by police officers or urging prosecutors to show leniency during plea discussions. Even sophisticated breath testing equipment may be unreliable if it is not properly maintained, and prosecutors may sometimes be swayed by the genuine remorse of offenders who have had little prior dealings with law enforcement.

Source: New York Courts, Aggravated Vehicular Assault, Accessed Sept. 14, 2016

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