Aggravated Assault with a Vehicle
In Arizona, a person can be arrested and charged with Aggravated Assault if they are involved in a motor vehicle accident while they are impaired by alcohol which results in injuries to another person. Aggravated Assault with a motor vehicle in Arizona is usually classified as a class 3 dangerous felony. A conviction for this offense carries a mandatory penalty of 5 to 15 years in prison.
In cases of DUI, Extreme DUI or Super Extreme DUI a prosecutor need only prove that a defendant's alcohol concentration was above the relevant legal limit (DUI .08, Extreme DUI .15, Super Extreme DUI .20) within two hours of driving or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle. However, Aggravated Assault involving a motor vehicle requires a prosecutor to show that a driver was impaired at the time of the accident resulting in injury.
Obviously, police don't usually draw blood from a suspect immediately upon arriving at an accident scene. Instead, a delay between the accident, police arrival at the scene and a blood or breath test is caused by the need to treat people who are injured, interview witnesses and conduct an investigation. In many aggravated assault cases involving car accidents, blood samples and breathalyzer tests are not obtained by police until one and a half hours or more has passed. This passage of time between an accident and blood or breath test gives rise to a potential defense to an aggravated assault by auto charge.
Again, the key to a prosecutor's case in these cases is proving that impairment by alcohol caused the accident and injuries. Although the investigating officers' observations about a suspect's demeanor and field tests which may have been administered are important evidence, the strongest proof a prosecutor can have in his arsenal are the results of blood or breath tests. To combat this evidence, a defendant in an aggravated assault by auto case must argue that his alcohol concentration actually increased between the accident and the time a blood or breath test was administered. Generally a standard alcoholic drink will be absorbed into a person's system within about one hour. Consequently, if a person consumed alcohol during a period just prior to a motor vehicle accident, it is extremely likely that his alcohol concentration was lower when the accident occurred than when police drew his blood. A toxicologist is an essential defense witness to explain this concept to a jury. Factors which must be taken into account when attempting to calculate a person's alcohol concentration at the time of an accident include:
- an individuals weight
- whether there was food in their system
- the type of drinks they consumed
- the time frame between their last drink and the blood or breath test
If you, a family member or loved one has been charged with aggravated assault by auto, DUI or any other criminal offense in Arizona you are well advised to immediately contact an experienced DUI or criminal defense lawyer who regularly represents people charged with these types of offenses. Attorney Raymond Kimble has represented people charged with DUI and other crimes, including aggravated assault in Tempe, Mesa, Chandler Phoenix, Scottsdale and other cities throughout Maricopa and Pinal Counties during the last twenty years and has achieved tremendous results for his clients. Ray Kimble can be reached directly for a free consultation at (480) 833-8613 or by visiting his website www.raykimblelaw.com