Not only can drunk driving put us in danger, but it can put our bank accounts, driver’s licenses, reputation, and freedom in danger, too. A DUI charge is bad enough as itself, but if you caused bodily harm to another individual while driving under the influence, you may be charged with intoxication assault as well.
If you have been charged with intoxication assault or know someone who has, keep reading for more information on the basis of the charge. And maybe contact a law firm like Truslow & Truslow.
Something to Remember…
Please keep in mind that criminal laws are decided on a state level. Thus, the specifics of the criminal statutes in each state vary. Make sure to research the specific laws in the location in which you have been charged with the crime.
What is Intoxication Assault?
While I briefly touched upon it before, it doesn’t hurt to go over the basics again. An individual may face an intoxication assault charge if they cause serious bodily harm to individuals while intoxicated. It is not necessary for someone to be driving a vehicle to be charged with intoxication assault, but the charge is most commonly applied to individuals driving under the influence who cause an automobile accident.
Classification and Penalties
Most states classify driving under the influence as a misdemeanor crime, while most states label intoxication assault as a felony. As you may or may not know, felonies are taken much more seriously than misdemeanors. In most states, misdemeanor penalties include at most one year in the county jail and/or a fine. While these punishments are certainly severe, they pale in comparison to the penalties for felony crimes. Punishments for felonies can mean years in state prisons and much more expensive fines.
Remember to check out your state to see what penalties you may be facing.
Elements of Intoxication Assault
There are three elements that must be proven by the prosecutors to successfully charge you with intoxication assault:
- You were high on drugs or drunk while operating the vehicle
- You disregarded your duties to drive safely due to the alcohol or drugs you consumed
- Your actions caused bodily harm to another individual
However, other elements are also usually proven by prosecutors in successful cases.
Serious Bodily Injury
Bodily injury is a pretty vague term. Of course, many states define serious bodily injury differently. Usual definitions of serious bodily injury include permanent disfigurement, elevated chance of death, and loss or impairment of a body part.
What to Do
Everybody makes mistakes. If you’re facing an intoxication assault charge, make sure to reach out to an experienced defense attorney. A defense attorney knows how to best represent you in court and can help you get your case dismissed or the penalties severely lessened.
You may feel as if you should skip the expense and choose to represent yourself. While this is certainly an option, it is not a good one. Defense attorneys have been extensively trained to know how to best represent their clients in criminal court, plus their years of experiences have shown them everything in the book.