Facing a criminal charge of driving under the influence or driving while ability impaired in Colorado is unquestionably a serious matter, and even more so when that alleged conduct is considered an assault by authorities.
In fact, a motorist convicted of vehicular assault anywhere in the state faces sentencing on a felony DUI charge that can yield starkly adverse and life-changing consequences.
An initial matter to note regarding vehicular assault is the two-pronged sentencing possibilities that exist based upon how a criminal charge is categorized.
And that is in one of two possible ways, namely, reckless vehicular assault or assault that is deemed to have occurred because a driver was impaired by alcohol or drugs, respectively.
Conviction on the former charge brings Class five felony results that can range from probation to as much as six years in prison. Conviction on a driving under the influence charge can bring a Class four felony sentencing outcome that, in select cases, can provide for an incarceration period of as many as 12 years.
There is obviously much at stake in a vehicular assault case, and much that a seasoned criminal defense attorney will consider, evaluate and potentially argue in a diligent effort to reduce or dismiss criminal charges.
The very concept of "recklessness" is open-ended, for example, and can sometimes be challenged by an attorney. Police investigators might have gotten their facts wrong regarding things like vehicle speed, weather conditions, road irregularities and additional evidence-related matters.
And with driving-impaired cases, of course, there are often many points that can be challenged by proven and aggressive defense counsel. Perhaps police lacked probable cause (a reasonable basis) to search and seize evidence that they now seek to have admitted in a case. Testing equipment might have been -- and not irregularly turns out to be -- improperly calibrated. Lab testing procedures and results might be flawed. Police or prosecutor conduct might be revealed as biased.
Those and other considerations render it important for any Colorado resident to secure proven legal representation without delay after being investigated for or charged with vehicular assault or another driving-related offense.