DUI Aggravated Assault
Defense Against DUI Aggravated Assault Charges in Tucson
We think of an assault as occurring when someone intentionally punches someone else and gives them a bloody nose, not a crime that can be charged as the result of a car accident. But under Arizona law, if you are in an accident where someone is injured and you are charged with DUI, you may face felony Aggravated Assault charges, carrying mandatory prison time.
The crime of misdemeanor or “simple” assault can occur if you recklessly injure someone else, pursuant to Arizona Revised Statute A.R.S. §12-1203. Reckless conduct has a specific meaning in the law, under A.R.S. §13-105(10)(c): "with respect to a result or to a circumstance described by a statute defining an offense, that a person is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the result will occur or that the circumstance exists. The risk must be of such 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. A person who creates such as risk but who is unaware of such risk solely by reason of voluntary intoxication also acts recklessly with respect to such risk.” So if you are found to have recklessly injured another person, you may be found guilty of assault.
An assault becomes a felony, Aggravated Assault, when there is some factor that makes the assault more serious than a simple assault. Under Arizona Revised Statute §13-1204 there are a variety of ways that an assault can become a felony aggravated assault, but three in particular apply to a DUI accident case.
First, Aggravated Assault can be charged if you cause an injury using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. Under A.R.S. §13-105(12): “Dangerous instrument” means anything that under the circumstances in which it is used, attempted to be used or threatened to be used is readily capable of causing death or serious physical injury. By caselaw, and by common sense, a motor vehicle fits the definition of a dangerous instrument.
Aggravated assault based on causing an injury using a dangerous instrument is a class two felony. Because a motor vehicle was used to cause the injury, the crime can be charged as a “dangerous nature offense.” If you are charged with Aggravated Assault, dangerous nature, you are facing a mandatory 7 - 21 years in prison. Obviously, if you are charged with DUI Aggravated Assault, you need to call the attorneys at Nesci & St. Louis right away.
DUI Aggravated Assault can also be charged if you cause a serious physical injury to another. Under A.R.S. 13-105(39): “Serious physical injury” includes physical injury that creates a reasonable risk of death, or that causes serious and permanent disfigurement, serious impairment of health or loss or protracted impairment of the function of any bodily organ or limb. Once again, DUI Aggravated Assault based on causing a serious physical injury is a class two felony. If you caused a serious injury in a car accident, because a “dangerous instrument” was used, and you are charged with DUI, the offense can be charged as a dangerous nature offense, meaning that you are facing a mandatory 7 - 21 years in prison.
Finally, DUI Aggravated Assault can be charged if during an accident in which you are charged with DUI you cause “temporary but substantial disfigurement, temporary but substantial loss or impairment of any body organ or part or a fracture of any body part.” DUI Aggravated Assault based on temporary but substantial impairment is a class three felony. If you were in an accident that resulted in an injury that caused temporary but substantial impairment, because a “dangerous instrument” was used, and you are charged with DUI, the offense can be charged as a dangerous nature offense, meaning that you are facing a mandatory 5 - 15 years in prison.
Call our experienced Aggravated Assault lawyers in Tucson, AZ right away to let us fight to get you the best result possible when you face these serious charges. Call Nesci & St. Louis at (520) 999-2441 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation.
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