If you are accused of vehicular aggravated assault in Arizona, prosecutors will work very hard to put you in prison. To protect your freedom and your future, you should seek the help of an experienced defense lawyer as soon as possible.
The Law Office of Karl A. Mueller, PLC, defends people in Gilbert, Chandler, Apache Junction and throughout the East Valley who have been charged with criminal traffic offenses. Attorney Karl Mueller has conducted hundreds of traffic-related trials both as a prosecutor and a defense attorney. Call 602-730-7857 for a free initial consultation.
What Is Vehicular Aggravated Assault?
In Arizona, vehicular aggravated assault is recklessly causing a serious injury with a motor vehicle. The injury does not have to be intentional. Many people who believe they will be facing DUI charges after an accident find themselves charged with aggravated assault if someone was injured.
Vehicular aggravated assault is often charged in situations where serious injury is caused by a driver speeding well in excess of the speed limit, or there is impairment due to alcohol or drugs.
To convict a person of vehicular aggravated assault, the state typically has to prove that the accused recklessly caused a serious injury to another. "Recklessly" means with respect to a result or to a circumstance described by a statute defining an offense, that person is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the result will occur or that the circumstances exists. The risks must be of such a nature and degree that disregard of such risk constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.
What Are The Consequences Of A Conviction?
Vehicular aggravated assault is normally charged as a dangerous felony, which is an offense that involves a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. In a case of vehicular aggravated assault, the dangerous instrument used is a vehicle. The importance of the "dangerous felony" allegation is that it makes punishment a sentence of mandatory prison.
The state's standard plea offer in a vehicular aggravated assault case will generally include the requirement to serve years in prison. A first-offense conviction of a class 3 dangerous aggravated assault charge would mean a mandatory prison sentence of anywhere from five to 11 years. A first-offense conviction of a class 2 dangerous aggravated assault charge would mean a mandatory prison sentence of anywhere from seven to 21 years.
Are There Defenses To Vehicular Aggravated Assault Charges?
There are many defenses that must be explored in defending a vehicular aggravated assault charge. Lawyers who have experience defending DUI charges are capable of adequately exploring the impairment aspect of the charge. In many cases, however, the essence of a successful defense rests in causation. In order to successfully defend causation, your lawyer should be thoroughly familiar and experienced with collision investigation and accident reconstruction to be able to evaluate and attack causation.
If you or a loved one is charged with a vehicular aggravated assault, you need to have a lawyer who is experienced with:
- Collision investigation and accident reconstruction
- Dealing with the state's criminalists and medical records
- Cross-examining medical doctors and experts in toxicology, biomechanics, DRE and DNA
A key defense often overlooked or not adequately argued is the definition of "recklessly." The fact that the accused is legally impaired, or would be guilty of DUI, does not automatically equal recklessness. Eventually a jury will deliberate to determine whether or not your conduct was reckless. You will want that decision made only after a lawyer experienced in arguing that definition has educated and instructed your jury on the subject. You need a lawyer who has the experience and ability to protect your rights.
The Experience To Defend You
Attorney Karl A. Mueller spent five years in a special unit prosecuting vehicular homicides and vehicular aggravated assault cases. Over the years, he was surprised how often these cases were handled by attorneys who had little or no experience with the issues involved in these cases.
As a vehicular homicide prosecutor for the state, attorney Karl A. Mueller received extensive experience and training in these areas. He was also called to numerous on-scene vehicular homicide, hit-and-run, and serious injury investigations. He spent so much time and gained so much experience with these issues in trial, he was requested to work with both prosecutors and defense attorneys to spearhead the rewrite of the state's DUI, vehicular homicide, and other vehicular felony jury instructions.
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