Vehicular Aggravated Assault – Arizona Revised Statute §13-1204
Aggravated Assault charges involving a vehicle, unfortunately, are brought under laws concerning any type of Aggravated Assault. In a Vehicular Aggravated Assault case, the prosecutor alleges that the Defendant “Intentionally, Knowingly, or Recklessly caused injury to another,” and either that the injury was a “Serious Physical Injury,” or involved a “Deadly Weapon or Dangerous Instrument.”
The “Deadly Weapon or Dangerous Instrument” that the prosecution often alleges is the vehicle the Defendant was driving. Despite that the vehicle was being used for its intended purpose – as a vehicle – the prosecutor charges Vehicular Aggravated Assault the same was the prosecutor might charge a case when the Defendant intentionally shoots someone in the leg.
Vehicular Aggravated Assaults are almost always on a theory of “recklessness,” unless there is evidence that the Defendant actually used a vehicle with the intention of running someone over.
Recklessness is often attempted to be proved by establishing that the Defendant was under the influence of alcohol or a drug, but can occasionally attempt to be established simply by poor driving, or unreasonable speed.
The problem with Vehicular Aggravated Assault cases is that the prosecutor tries to “Double Up” with their allegations.
In order for the offense to be a Misdemeanor Assault, the prosecutor has to prove that the Defendant “Intentionally, Knowingly, or Recklessly caused an injury to another person.”
In order for the offense to be a Felony Assault, the prosecutor has to prove that the Defendant used a “Deadly Weapon or Dangerous Instrument” – a car.
On top of that, the prosecutor will nearly always allege the offense was a “Dangerous Offense,” which has severe sentencing implications. To allege a “Dangerous Offense,” the prosecutor must prove that the Defendant was using a “Deadly Weapon or Dangerous Instrument” – a car.
You read that right! The prosecutor will often allege that the Defendant “Intentionally, Knowingly, or Recklessly caused an injury; using a Deadly Weapon or Dangerous Instrument; AND did so using a Deadly Weapon or Dangerous Instrument.”
Double punishment? So far Arizona courts have said no.
This is where experience comes in. There are several arguments that can be made to a judge and jury to convince them that this “Dangerousness” allegation is inappropriate.
If convicted of Vehicular Aggravated Assault, alleged as a Dangerous Offense, the sentencing range is 5 to 15 years prison. Even if there are no prior convictions for anything.
Unfortunately, this is an extremely serious offense.
While each member of the Arizona DUI Team is experienced and qualified to handle a case such as this, there is another option which can be extremely valuable to the Defendant, at about half the cost of full representation. It is called Knapp Counsel, and is an option offered by each Arizona DUI Team Attorney.
Read more about Knapp Counsel.