January 30, 2023

When the term “vehicle attack” is brought to attention, many people imagine someone using their vehicle to intentionally injure or kill someone. In most cases, however, vehicle assaults and homicides are unintentional or result from road traffic incidents. Because Colorado has a hot real estate market and thriving job opportunities, many people who have relocated here from abroad have brought their big city methods of bullying and unsafe traffic maneuvers with them. Unfortunately, this means that there has been a significant increase in vehicle robbery and vehicle murder cases in Colorado, and Colorado Springs is no exception.

While many motorists would disagree, we all make mistakes and carelessly drive at some point. Unfortunately, these moments of neglect can sometimes have life-changing consequences. Sometimes drivers don’t even realize how irresponsible or careless they are until it’s too late and pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles may be involved. If another person’s actions are the result of injury or death sustained in the accident, they may be charged with assault or manslaughter with a vehicle.

Vehicle assaults and homicides are both considered serious traffic offenses that can result in criminal convictions. Those convicted can face prison terms and large fines, some of which can exceed hundreds of thousands of dollars. The above reasons and more should prompt an individual to seek the legal advice of an experienced Colorado Springs traffic offense attorney or a Colorado Springs DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. If a driver is charged with drunk driving or another traffic offense for which a charge of bodily harm or manslaughter is charged, the driver may be able to reduce their sentence by engaging an experienced and conscientious drunk driving attorney or traffic crime attorney.

Can you be charged with assault or manslaughter even if it was an accident?

Vehicle assaults and vehicle homicides are some of the most serious and serious consequences that can result from injuring or unlawfully killing someone with a vehicle. Unfortunately, even if a driver unwittingly commits a vehicle robbery or murder, they can still be charged in the state of Colorado.

Additionally, many people are unaware that negligent assault and homicide can be charged without prejudice. However, it is possible to face serious criminal offenses if the driver has consumed alcohol or been driving under the influence of drugs, regardless of the driver’s degree of intoxication. There are several consequences associated with a felony conviction, including a mandatory prison sentence, loss of civil rights, loss of gun ownership rights, additional license suspensions, and an inability to pursue future employment opportunities.

Vehicle injury and manslaughter are not the only charges, however, and a charge of some type of endangerment must first be filed in order to be charged with vehicle manslaughter or vehicle injury. Again, there are many different types of traffic charges that can result in a charge of assault or manslaughter, depending on the circumstances of the case.

What is vehicle attack?

Vehicular assault is defined in Section 18-3-205 of the Revised Colorado Statutes, as are the penalties associated with a vehicular assault conviction. Under CRS 18-3-205, a vehicular assault is a crime that occurs when two specific factors are met:

  • Drive recklessly or under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both AND
  • The manner in which the driver operates the vehicle is the proximate cause of serious bodily injury to another person

Essentially, vehicle assault is a term used to describe a driver’s negligence that has seriously injured another person while operating their vehicle.

CRS18-3-205 defines assault on a vehicle as a no-fault crime. Consequently, it is irrelevant whether the accused intended to harm the victim. It only remains to be clarified whether the accused caused serious damage through reckless driving, under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This is easily proven with medical records and the victim’s medical certificate.

What is vehicular homicide?

Under the Revised Colorado Statutes, Section 18-1-106 defines vehicular homicide as the death of a person caused by a driver:

  • Operating your vehicle under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or both
  • reckless operation of their vehicle

A driver must be “essentially unable, either mentally or physically, or both mentally and physically, to exercise sound judgement, adequate control, or due care in the safe operation of a vehicle.” This can be detected by roadside testing as well as blood alcohol levels and used to influence a judge’s or jury’s decision.

Additionally, if a driver is being driven as reckless in a vehicle homicide case, they must knowingly disregard a “significant and unjustifiable risk.” In essence, this means that the motorist must know that they are actively putting others on the road around them at risk, but have chosen to do so anyway.

Penalties for assault and vehicle homicide in Colorado

The charges of vehicular murder and assault in Colorado are extremely serious. Colorado aggressively prosecutes DUI and reckless driving homicide and assault cases just as it aggressively prosecutes homicide cases. It’s understandable that vehicular homicide and assault cases are emotionally charged. Grief and other harsh emotions often accompany the loss of another person’s life, whether the deceased was a passenger of the accused, a pedestrian, a cyclist, or an occupant of another vehicle.

After a tragic or fatal accident, people accused of vehicular assault, and particularly vehicular murder, often feel intense guilt and remorse. While this legitimate opinion is valid, it does not eliminate the penalties associated with homicide or vehicle assault charges. The penalties a driver can face when charged with vehicle murder or assault are wide ranging and life changing.

Penalties for Vehicle Attack

Under CRS 18-3-205, Colorado law defines vehicular assault as reckless or impaired driving that results in serious bodily harm to another person. However, there are different penalties depending on whether the driver was impaired or was driving recklessly.

Penalties for driving a vehicle recklessly include the following:

  • Class 5 felony conviction
  • 1 to 3 years in prison
  • A fine of between $1,000 and $100,000

A DUI vehicle attack has penalties that include:

  • Class 4 felony conviction
  • 2 to 6 years in prison
  • Fines ranging from $2,000 to $500,000

Penalties for vehicular homicide in Colorado

CRS 18-1-106 under Colorado law defines vehicular homicide as reckless driving or being under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or both, which causes an accident resulting in the death of a person. Just like vehicular assault, penalties for vehicular homicide in Colorado depend on whether the driver was reckless or under the influence.

Drivers charged with reckless homicide may face penalties including:

  • Class 4 felony conviction
  • 2 to 6 years in prison
  • Fines ranging from $2,000 to $500,000

Drivers charged with a DUI homicide in Colorado may face penalties including:

  • Class 3 felony conviction
  • 4 to 12 years in prison
  • Fines ranging from $3,000 to $750,000

Harm and homicide are offenses that occur when a driver seriously injures or kills another person while operating a vehicle. These charges can be made even if the incident was unintentional and can result in felony convictions, jail terms, and large fines. In the state of Colorado, a vehicular robbery occurs when a driver operates a vehicle recklessly or under the influence of a driver and seriously injures another person, while a vehicular homicide is the accidental killing of another person through reckless or drunk driving. It is possible to reduce the consequences of these charges by hiring an experienced DUI or traffic offense attorney. These charges can also apply if the driver was not impaired by alcohol or drugs, and can result in loss of civil rights, gun ownership rights, and employment opportunities.

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