West Chester

Aggravated Assault by Vehicle DUI Lawyer

If you have been charged with aggravated assault resulting from driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances in Pennsylvania, it is imperative to hire an experienced violent crimes lawyer. A conviction for DUI vehicular assault can lead to serious consequences, including a prison sentence, a negative impact to your business and personal reputation, loss of certain employment or educational opportunities, hefty fines, a criminal record, and/or suspension of a driver’s license.

If you have been charged with aggravated assault while driving under the influence in West Chester, PA, Michael J. Skinner of the Skinner Law Firm will listen to the facts of your particular case and make every effort to fight the allegations against you. Contact (610) 436-1410 for a consultation about your alleged DUI offense today.

Aggravated Assault While DUI

An individual can be charged with aggravated assault from DUI under 75 Pa. Const. Stat. § 3735.1 if they:

  • Acted negligently,
  • Caused serious bodily injury to another person, and
  • Caused the injury as a result of driving under the influence.

The defendant’s conduct must be an extreme deviation from the type of conduct a reasonable person would have used if they were in the defendant’s situation.

Serious bodily injury is defined in Pennsylvania as any injury to a person’s body that creates a substantial risk of death to the person, causes serious and permanent disfigurement, or causes loss or impairment to any bodily functions or organs of the body.

DUI Required For Aggravated Vehicular Assault In Pennsylvania

In order for an individual to be found guilty of aggravated assault, they must first be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances while operating a vehicle under 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3802.

This means the driver must have done the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • Drove, operated or had actual physical control of a vehicle on a highway or traffic way, AND
  • They had consumed enough alcohol that rendered them incapable of safely driving, operating or being in actual physical control of the movement of the vehicle, OR
  • They had consumed enough alcohol, so their blood alcohol concentration level (BAC) was at least .08% but less than .10% within two hours after the individual operated the vehicle, or they had any indication of a controlled substance in their blood.

Incapable of safe driving in Pennsylvania means the individual’s normal mental or physical abilities that were essential to safe operation of the vehicle were substantially impaired by alcohol. Incapable of safe driving does not require severe intoxication, drunkenness, or wild or erratic driving.

The defendant does not have to actually drive the vehicle in order to be convicted of a DUI offense. Pennsylvania law requires the defendant to drive, operate or have actual physical control of the vehicle. This means the defendant has to have physical control of the vehicle or has to be in a position to manage the vehicle’s movement when the defendant was charged with driving under the influence; this can include vehicles that are stopped.

Direct Causation Required For DUI Aggravated Assault

In order for an individual to be convicted of DUI aggravated assault, the judge or jury must find beyond a reasonable doubt the individual was the direct cause of serious bodily injury to the injured person.

To be a direct cause of serious bodily injury, the defendant’s conduct must have been the direct and substantial factor that caused the injury. There may be other factors that contributed to directly causing the serious bodily injury, but if the individual is at least one of the direct causes of the injury, they can be found criminally liable for the offense.

A defendant may not be the direct cause of the injury if another factor acts as an independent, important and overriding role in causing the injury as compared to the defendant’s role in causing the injury. Some intervening factors can include:

  • The actions of the victim;
  • The actions of a third person; or
  • The occurrence of another event.

An individual can still be the direct cause of the victim’s serious bodily injury even though their conduct was not the last or immediate cause of the injury. Therefore, the defendant’s conduct can be the direct cause of a serious bodily injury if it starts an unbroken chain of events that leads to the victim’s injuries.

A defendant whose conduct is the direct cause of the serious bodily injury cannot avoid criminal liability simply because the victim had preexisting physical infirmities. Therefore, if the victim was already injured and the vehicular aggravated assault further contributed to their injuries, the defendant can still be criminally liable.

DUI Aggravated Assault Penalties

A conviction for aggravated assault while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is punishable as a felony of the second degree. This type of felony can result in a prison sentence up to ten years and/or a fine not more than $25,000.

A conviction for this offense can also result in a suspension of driving privileges for one year.

A DUI Aggravated Assault Lawyer In Pennsylvania

If you have been arrested and charged with aggravated assault while DUI in Chester County, Pennsylvania, contact the Skinner Law Firm today for a free consultation about your alleged driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs offense. Michael J. Skinner is an experienced DUI lawyer in West Chester who will make every effort to help you avoid the most serious penalties and repercussions.

Contact the Skinner Law Firm at (610) 436-1410 for a consultation about your alleged DUI aggravated assault in Chester County and the surrounding areas in Lancaster County, Montgomery County and Delaware County in Pennsylvania.