Aggravated DUI and Vehicular Assault
Columbus' Premier OVI and Criminal Defense Law Firm
Koffel Brininger Nesbitt represents individuals who have been charged with causing injuries and/or death as a result of operating a vehicle. For information about drunk driving defense, visit our DUI/OVI defense page. Vehicular Assault, Vehicular Homicide, Aggravated Vehicular Assault, and Aggravated Vehicular Homicide are the most common serious vehicular crimes that our firm handles.
If you have been arrested and charged with aggravated vehicular assault in Columbus or other area in Ohio, you are at the beginning of what can be an extremely serious legal matter. These charges carry severe penalties under Ohio law, and when alcohol is involved in an injury accident, the penalties can become even more harsh. Aggravated vehicular assault is usually charged as either a 2nd degree or 3rd degree felony offense. If convicted, you can face years in state prison as well as thousands of dollars in fines.
Even if you caused a serious injury or death in a motor vehicle accident, there may be options other than prison. These cases are very fact-specific. Many times, the legal guilt of a client is tied to the fact that the state of Ohio must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that impairment or recklessness was the proximate cause of the accident when, in fact, there may be another cause. For example, on December 2, 2010 the Franklin County Court of Appeals issued a decision affirming a conviction based upon reckless driving and speeding. Read our analysis of that case here.
Also, penalties can be mitigated if the lawyer can resolve the case with a "DUI specification."
Example Vehicular Assault Cases
CASE EXAMPLE: Mr. Koffel recently successfully defended a local business owner who was indicted on 2 counts of aggravated vehicular assault as a result of a DUI accident injuring his two sons who were passengers. Facing a mandatory 1 year prison term on each count, Mr. Koffel worked with the State of Ohio and the trial judge to have the sentence reduced to just 30 days in jail followed by house arrest.
CASE EXAMPLE: Our Client, a 20 year old union worker was involved in a devastating single car accident. While our client sustained limited injuries, his passenger, a childhood friend, suffered severe long term injuries. A blood test confirmed that our client’s blood alcohol level was well in excess of twice the legal limit at the time of the accident. In addition to other penalties, our client was facing a mandatory prison sentence of 1 to 5 years and a mandatory operator’s license suspension of 2 to 10 years.
After nearly 5 months of representation, and lengthy plea negotiations, our client agreed to plead to a lesser included offense. Our client had a previous juvenile and adult criminal/traffic record which the Judge took into consideration. Ultimately, our client was sentenced to 6 months in prison, the minimum prison sentence which could be imposed under the circumstances, with the possibility of judicial release prior to the expiration of the term. His license was also suspended for a period of 2 years.
CASE EXAMPLE: Mr. Koffel's client was involved in a serious collision when he went left of center striking an oncoming vehicle. The injuries to the other person were not life threatening but serious enough to result in the client being indicted for F3 Aggravated Vehicular Assault, F4 Vehicular Assault and two counts of DUI / OVI. The case lasted over 1 year. The client was facing a mandatory prison term of 1-5 years. However, Mr. Koffel negotiated on the client's behalf resulting in the more serious charge being dismissed. The client entered a guilty plea to a lesser count and misdemeanors. It is expected that he will serve 65 days of work release.
Is Speeding Alone Sufficient to Convict a Motorist of Aggravated Vehicular Homicide / Assault in Ohio?
Vehicular Homicide / Vehicular Assault is upgraded to a felony status if a defendant's actions or record matches certain criteria in the Ohio Revised Code. On average, most Aggravated Vehicular Homicide / Assault cases are a result of either DUI or reckless driving. If a motorist is merely negligent, but not DUI or reckless, and the accident leads to serious injury or death, most cases will be treated as a misdemeanor. There is no mandatory prison or jail associated with those types of cases.
However, what happens if a motorist is simply going above the posted speed limit and crashes into another vehicle causing death or serious injury? Is that reckless? Is that a felony?
Recently, the 12 th District Court of Appeals in Ohio (an appeal from Brown County, Ohio) affirmed a conviction that a professional truck driver who was going 60 m.p.h. in a 55 m.p.h. zone was guilty of being "reckless" when his rig crashed into another vehicle killing the rear seat passenger and seriously injuring the two front seat passengers. State v. Taylor (8-16-10). His defense that he was merely negligent (thus guilty of a misdemeanor) didn't fly.
This case illustrates the fluidity of accident death cases in Ohio and all across America. Depending upon the hue and cry, some accident death cases are being prosecuted as higher level felonies, even murder.
When convicted of a felony offense, life changes forever. There are many professions in which you cannot be licensed with a felony on your criminal record. It could be difficult to get a job, or even a place to live. It is strongly advised that you contact a Columbus aggravated vehicular assault defense lawyer immediately after your arrest.
Ohio Aggravated Vehicular Assault Defense Attorney
At KBN, the legal team of criminal defense lawyers are some of the best in Ohio. They are widely recognized as leaders in the field of DUI and Serious Vehicular Crimes. The lawyers of KBN normally can start helping someone charged with this offense the same day they are retained. The lawyers are prepared to aggressively defend clients who are facing this dangerous charge. Your future is at stake, and the penalty for conviction is up to 5 years in state prison.
When there is a prior conviction for DUI on the criminal record, it is likely that the sentence could be increased to up to 8 years. When you are facing these penalties, it becomes critical that you get strong legal representation that will get to work immediately on your defense. At KBN, the urgency of the problem is recognized and the defense strategy will be initiated at once.
Ensure that you get legal representation prior to answering questions from law enforcement, as without legal counsel, you can damage your own case by discussing it with law enforcement. Even when they seem friendly or sympathetic, actually they are hoping that you will make statements that will help the prosecutor convict you. Your first act after being booked should be to contact KBN and get an attorney by your side to handle protecting you and your rights from the first moment.
Arrested for aggravated vehicular assault? Call KBN today at (614) 675-4845.