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New York Vehicular Assault Frequently Asked Questions

What is vehicular assault in New York?

In New York vehicular assault is a criminal offense in which the driver of a motor vehicle drives while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol and causes another person to suffer a serious physical injury. Unlike other types of traffic violations that result in accidents, instead of the defendant receiving a ticket and fine, a person who commits vehicular assault faces criminal penalties that may include prison.

In New York is vehicular assault a misdemeanor or a felony?

There are three vehicular assault offenses in New York, all of which are felonies. Vehicular assault in the second degree is a class E felony, while vehicular assault in the first degree is a class D felony. The third vehicular assault offense is aggravated vehicular assault. It is a class C felony.

What are the elements of vehicular assault in New York?

In order face a charge of vehicular assault, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant driver was operating a motor vehicle and caused serious injury to another driver, a passenger, a cyclist or a pedestrian, and:

  • The driver was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or
  • The driver was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and the vehicle was carrying flammable gas, explosives, or radioactive material

Aggravating factors that would result in the charge being raised to aggravated vehicular assault include a BAC of more than .18, driving with a suspended or revoked license, more than one person is injured, having a previous vehicular assault conviction, or having a child who is 15 years old or younger in the vehicle.

What are the possible penalties for being convicted of vehicular assault in New York?

Potential consequences upon conviction of vehicular assault include up to 15 years in prison, fines, and loss of driving privileges. Factors that he court will consider when determining a defendant’s sentence include the specific charge of which the defendant is convicted. A conviction of aggravated homicide will result in the most severe penalties as it is a class C felony.

What are the defenses to a vehicular assault charge in New York?

Before someone who is accused of vehicular assault or aggravated vehicular assault can be convicted, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that the prosecutor must prove all of the elements that are part of the specific vehicular assault offense with which the defendant is charged. The defendant then has the right rebut each element by defenses.

  • Inaccurate chemical tests. The defendant questions the accuracy of the blood alcohol level or drug tests. There are a variety of reasons that a test that measures blood alcohol test can be inaccurate.
  • Not defendant’s fault. The defendant produces evidence that proves that the accident was not his or her fault, or that the injuries were not his or her fault.
  • Involuntary intoxication. The defendant was intoxicated by medication or due to some other involuntary reason. When intoxication is involuntary, the defendant was made to be intoxicated without his or her knowledge. This can be used as a defense against the intent element of a crime.
Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

A conviction for vehicular assault becomes part of your permanent criminal record. It can hurt your chances of getting a job, renting a house or apartment, and getting car insurance. If you face a vehicular assault charge, it is important to have experienced representation. The skilled attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have decades of experience successfully representing clients in New York charged with felonies and misdemeanors, and have the resources to ensure that your legal rights are protected. Contact us at 800.NY.NY.LAW (800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Manhattan, Staten Island, Suffolk County, Queens, Nassau County, Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, and Westchester County.

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