Vehicular Assault in Denver Colorado

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Navigating Charges of Vehicular Assault

This page is designed to get rid of the clutter in handling Vehicular Assault, so that you can focus on the details that matter in your case. Remember that this page is for informational purposes only. If you would like to speak with a Colorado Defense Attorney to address your legal issues, call 303-586-1731.

Navigating Your Criminal Case

Laying the Groundwork for your Case

Get OrganizedAs soon as you are charged with a crime, you will need to take care of some details to get your case moving in the right direction. These foundational things include interviewing lawyers, hiring one, and beginning to prepare your case with the lawyer. Here are some useful articles on

Once you get through those introductory tasks, you will be ready to move onto the interesting parts of preparing your case.

So let’s get started!

Get to know the Strengths and Weaknesses of Your Case

After you have hired a Colorado Defense Attorney, you will need to sit down with him to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of your case.  To begin this process, you should think about what the prosecutor will attempt to show in order to say that you are guilty. This will allow you to get a better idea of how you can attack the prosecutor’s case and build your own case. So to begin, you should understand that the prosecutor will need to prove certain things beyond a reasonable doubt for you to be found guilty.  These things are called “elements”.

The jury will be notified of the elements through a set of instructions called “Jury Instructions.” The Jury Instructions are a set of instructions crafted by your attorney and the prosecutor that will provide the law to the jury that they must use when deciding your case. Your Colorado Defense Attorney will mold the jury instructions to your case, adding facts that are specific to the case and omitting unnecessary parts of the instructions.

Please find the model jury instruction for Vehicular Assault below. These will be adapted by your Colorado Attorney for your case.

The elements of vehicular assault are: 1. That the defendant, 2. in the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged, 3. operated or drove a motor vehicle, 4. [in a reckless manner, and] -or- [while under the influence of [alcohol] [one or more drugs], or a combination of both alcohol and one or more drugs, and] 5. this conduct was the proximate cause of serious bodily injury to another person. 6. [without the affirmative defense in instruction number __________.] After considering all the evidence, if you decide the prosecution has proven each of the elements beyond a reasonable doubt, you should find the defendant guilty of vehicular assault. After considering all the evidence, if you decide the prosecution has failed to prove any one or more of the elements beyond a reasonable doubt, you should find the defendant not guilty of vehicular assault. NOTES ON USE When this instruction is used, the applicable definitions of “motor vehicle”, “proximate cause?, and “serious bodily injury” must be given. Definitions of ?in a reckless manner? (see definition of ?recklessly?), ?one or more drugs?, and ?under the influence? must be given must be given where appropriate. With reference to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, vehicular assault is a strict-liability offense. As such, the instruction on strict liability should be given. See ?18-3-205(2), C.R.S. and the following instruction, as to inferences to be drawn from the defendant’s blood alcohol level. While the term “presumption” is used in the statute, presumptions are illegal in criminal cases, and the term “inference” is better used.

To begin the process of analyzing your case, think about your case from the perspective of the prosecutor.  Think about the facts that the prosecutor will have to prove to establish each element. Next, sit down with your Colorado Defense Attorney and talk about some of the legal ways that you can use to counter the prosecutor’s evidence.  Talk to your attorney about whether he thinks any of the prosecutor’s evidence can be kept out of court.  For example, if you were illegally searched, your attorney may be able to keep the things that were found, as a result of that illegal search, out of court.  Additionally, talk to your attorney about whether you have any defenses to Vehicular Assault.

Consider Outside Factors that can Influence Your Case

Outside Factors that can Influence Your CaseYour Colorado Judge and Jury will form opinions well before they hear the evidence in your case.  You should try to understand these opinions before you decide whether to go to trial or take a plea so that you can better assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case.  Additionally, if you decide to go to trial, you can use these factors to help identify a jury that is appropriate for your case.

Crime Trends in Denver Colorado:

Trends play an important role in the way a community perceives a crime. For example, if the charges you are facing are occurring more and more often in the community, then the community may have a growing interest in pursuing those crimes.

For a Defense Attorney, a rising crime rate may signal the need to argue for different types of penalties. For example, if the prosecutor has consistently asked for jail for your charges, it may be beneficial for your attorney to use crime trends to show the prosecutor that there is a need for alternative jail sentences (such as rehab, probation, or other options). You should always talk to your criminal defense attorney to decide what the best strategy will be for your case and whether recent statistics can be used to help you.

Below you will find crime statistics for crimes similar to yours, occurring in Denver . You should also consider statistics for the County of Denver.

Crime: Other Assaults

Arrests:

On a broader scale, you should consider the number of arrests for charges similar to yours and all of the types of crimes that a court typically sees.  This broader overview of the criminal activity in your area will give you more insight into the issues that the court is dealing with and what the main problems in the community are. If you can talk about issues that are important to the judge and the community in a way that shows your awareness for those issues and your desire not to be part of the problem, then you can put yourself in a better negotiating position with the prosecutor and the judge.

Crime Arrests
All Offenses 10241
Murder and Non-Negligent Manslaughter 35
Forcible Rape 93
Robbery 339
Aggravated Assault 972
Burglary 681
Larceny-Theft 874
Motor Vehicle Theft 367
Arson 11
Other Assaults 1095
Forgery and Counterfeiting 110
Fraud 128
Embezzlement 24
Stolen Property; Buying, Receiving, Possessing 58
Vandalism 438
Weapons; Carrying, Possessing, etc. 217
Prostitution and Commercialized Vice 14
Sex Offense (except forcible rape and prostitution) 158
Drug Abuse Violations -Total 1570
     Sale-Manufacturing-Total 518
     Possession-SubTotal 1052
Gambling 2
Offenses Against the Family and Children 171
Driving Under the Influence 3
Liquor Laws 10
Drunkenness 0
Disorderly Conduct 41
Vagrancy 5
All Other Offenses (except traffic) 1169
Suspicion 0
Curfew and Loitering Law Violations 39
Runaways 1617
Violent Crime Index 1439
Property Crime Index 1933

Population and Race in Denver Cases

Listed below is data dealing with the percentage of each racial group that appears in Denver and the percentage that the racial group appears in Court. When looking at racial data, you should compare your situation to the expectations that these statistics create in Denver .

For example, if your race is seen less frequently in the criminal justice system than it is seen outside the criminal justice system, this could have an effect on your case. Likewise, if your race is seen more often in the criminal justice system than it is seen outside the criminal justice system, this could have an effect on your case.

You should talk to your Colorado Defense Attorney about how the racial trends in your county could effect your case. Racial trends can be used to your advantage depending on how citizens of Denver perceive race and the stereotypes of your community. It is important to have a discussion with your Colorado Defense Attorney about how racial perceptions and stereotypes can help or hurt your case.

Denver  County Colorado Population Demographics by Race Denver Police Dept County Colorado Arrest Demographics by Race

  White Black AINA API
Percentage of Crimes by Race 69.93% 28.4% 0.76% 0.92%

Education

When preparing your case for trial, you should be aware of the life experiences and educational background of your potential jurors. The way that your arguments are presented to the jury may depend on the life experiences and educational background of the jury. You should have a discussion with your Colorado Criminal Lawyer about the types of arguments that you should make in your county and the way that your evidence should be presented to make sure it reaches the jury in the best light possible.

High School Graduates College Graduates

How Vehicular Assault in Denver is portrayed in the News

When you are preparing your case, it is always a good practice to know about recent news that is similar to your case. Recent news will inevitably have an influence on your jury. If your type of crime is being portrayed often, and in a negative light, this is an issue that will have to be overcome during jury selection. Likewise, if the crime is not being portrayed often, or is being portrayed in a positive light, you can use this to your advantage. Always talk to your criminal defense attorney about how recent news could effect your case.

Here is how your crime is currently being portrayed in the media. This information comes from Google News for Vehicular Assault in Denver Colorado.


Think like a Judge

Denver Judges

In a criminal case, the Judge plays a monumental role in ensuring that you receive a fair trial. Judicial tendencies can have negative and positive impacts on your Colorado Criminal Case. In order to better understand judicial tendencies and inform the citizens of Colorado, the State of Colorado conducts surveys on each Judge to see how the population perceives its Judges. These surveys are available to the public. You should take the time to talk to your Colorado Criminal Lawyer about your judge in particular and how his tendencies have effected previous cases so that you can prepare your arguments accordingly.

If you are interested in seeing how your Judge performed in his or her last survey, click on your Judge from the list below.

Judges in Judicial DISTRICT 2

The Honorable Aleene Ortiz-White
The Honorable Alfred C. Harrell
The Honorable Andre L. Rudolph
The Honorable Andrew S. Armatas
The Honorable Anne Mansfield
The Honorable Claudia J. Jordan
The Honorable Doris E. Burd
The Honorable John M. Marcucci
The Honorable John Madden
The Honorable Larry J. Naves
The Honorable Martin F. Egelhoff
The Honorable Robert B. Crew
The Honorable Robert L. McGahey, Jr.
The Honorable Robert S. Hyatt
The Honorable Sheila Ann Rappaport
The Honorable Brian Whitney
The Honorable C. Jean Stewart
The Honorable David B. Woods
The Honorable Donna J. Schmalberger
The Honorable Edward D. Bronfin
The Honorable Herbert L. Stern, III
The Honorable Michael A. Martinez
The Honorable Norman D. Haglund
The Honorable William D. Robbins
The Honorable William W. Hood, III
The Honorable Brian T. Campbell
The Honorable Clarisse Gonzales
The Honorable James B. Breese
The Honorable Johnny C. Barajas
The Honorable Larry L. Bohning
The Honorable Mary Celeste
The Honorable Raymond Satter


Statute for 18 – 3 – 205 – Vehicular Assault

StatuteBefore you decide whether you have a strong or weak case, you should also take the time to look at the language of the crime that you have been charged with. 

18-3-205. Vehicular assault

(1) (a) If a person operates or drives a motor vehicle in a reckless manner, and this conduct is the proximate cause of serious bodily injury to another, such person commits vehicular assault.

(b) (I) If a person operates or drives a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of both alcohol and one or more drugs, and this conduct is the proximate cause of a serious bodily injury to another, such person commits vehicular assault. This is a strict liability crime.

(II) For the purposes of this subsection (1), one or more drugs shall mean all substances defined as a drug in section 27-80-203 (13), C.R.S., and all controlled substances defined in section 18-18-102 (5), and glue-sniffing, aerosol inhalation, or the inhalation of any other toxic vapor or vapors as defined in section 18-18-412.

(III) The fact that any person charged with a violation of this subsection (1) is or has been entitled to use one or more drugs under the laws of this state shall not constitute a defense against any charge of violating this subsection (1).

(IV) “Driving under the influence” means driving a vehicle when a person has consumed alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of alcohol and one or more drugs, which alcohol alone, or one or more drugs alone, or alcohol combined with one or more drugs affect such person to a degree that such person is substantially incapable, either mentally or physically, or both mentally and physically, of exercising clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe operation of a vehicle.

(c) Vehicular assault, in violation of paragraph (a) of this subsection (1), is a class 5 felony. Vehicular assault, in violation of paragraph (b) of this subsection (1), is a class 4 felony.

(2) In any prosecution for a violation of subsection (1) of this section, the amount of alcohol in the defendant’s blood or breath at the time of the commission of the alleged offense, or within a reasonable time thereafter, as shown by analysis of the defendant’s blood or breath, shall give rise to the following presumptions:

(a) If there was at such time 0.05 or less grams of alcohol per one hundred milliliters of blood, or if there was at such time 0.05 or less grams of alcohol per two hundred ten liters of breath, it shall be presumed that the defendant was not under the influence of alcohol.

(b) If there was at such time in excess of 0.05 but less than 0.08 grams of alcohol per one hundred milliliters of blood, or if there was at such time in excess of 0.05 but less than 0.08 grams of alcohol per two hundred ten liters of breath, such fact may be considered with other competent evidence in determining whether or not the defendant was under the influence of alcohol.

(c) If there was at such time 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per one hundred milliliters of blood, or if there was at such time 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per two hundred ten liters of breath, it shall be presumed that the defendant was under the influence of alcohol.

(3) The limitations of subsection (2) of this section shall not be construed as limiting the introduction, reception, or consideration of any other competent evidence bearing upon the question of whether or not the defendant was under the influence of alcohol.

(4) (a) If a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that any person was driving a motor vehicle in violation of paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of this section, the person, upon the request of the law enforcement officer, shall take, and complete, and cooperate in the completing of any test or tests of the person’s blood, breath, saliva, or urine for the purpose of determining the alcoholic or drug content within his or her system. The type of test or tests shall be determined by the law enforcement officer requiring the test or tests. If the person refuses to take, or to complete, or to cooperate in the completing of any test or tests, the test or tests may be performed at the direction of a law enforcement officer having probable cause, without the person’s authorization or consent. If any person refuses to take, or to complete, or to cooperate in the taking or completing of any test or tests required by this paragraph (a), the person shall be subject to license revocation pursuant to the provisions of section 42-2-126 (3), C.R.S. When the test or tests show that the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood was in violation of the limits provided for in section 42-2-126 (3) (a), (3) (b), (3) (d), or (3) (e), C.R.S., the person shall be subject to license revocation pursuant to the provisions of section 42-2-126, C.R.S.

(b) Any person who is required to submit to testing shall cooperate with the person authorized to obtain specimens of his blood, breath, saliva, or urine, including the signing of any release or consent forms required by any person, hospital, clinic, or association authorized to obtain such specimens. If such person does not cooperate with the person, hospital, clinic, or association authorized to obtain such specimens, including the signing of any release or consent forms, such noncooperation shall be considered a refusal to submit to testing.

(c) The tests shall be administered at the direction of a law enforcement officer having probable cause to believe that the person committed a violation of subparagraph (I) of paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of this section and in accordance with rules and regulations prescribed by the state board of health concerning the health of the person being tested and the accuracy of such testing. Strict compliance with such rules and regulations shall not be a prerequisite to the admissibility of test results at trial unless the court finds that the extent of noncompliance with a board of health rule has so impaired the validity and reliability of the testing method and the test results as to render the evidence inadmissible. In all other circumstances, failure to strictly comply with such rules and regulations shall only be considered in the weight to be given to the test results and not to the admissibility of such test results. It shall not be a prerequisite to the admissibility of test results at trial that the prosecution present testimony concerning the composition of any kit used to obtain blood, urine, saliva, or breath specimens. A sufficient evidentiary foundation concerning the compliance of such kits with the rules and regulations of the department of public health and environment shall be established by the introduction of a copy of the manufacturer’s or supplier’s certificate of compliance with such rules and regulations if such certificate specifies the contents, sterility, chemical makeup, and amounts of chemicals contained in such kit.

(d) No person except a physician, a registered nurse, a paramedic as certified in part 2 of article 3.5 of title 25, C.R.S., an emergency medical service provider as defined in part 1 of article 3.5 of title 25, C.R.S., or a person whose normal duties include withdrawing blood samples under the supervision of a physician or registered nurse is entitled to withdraw blood to determine the alcoholic or drug content of the blood for purposes of this section. In a trial for a violation of paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of this section, testimony of a law enforcement officer that the officer witnessed the taking of a blood specimen by a person who the officer reasonably believed was authorized to withdraw blood specimens is sufficient evidence that the person was authorized, and testimony from the person who obtained the blood specimens concerning the person’s authorization to obtain blood specimens is not a prerequisite to the admissibility of test results concerning the blood specimens obtained. No civil liability shall attach to a person authorized to obtain blood, breath, saliva, or urine specimens or to a hospital, clinic, or association in or for which the specimens are obtained in accordance with this subsection (4) as a result of the act of obtaining the specimens from any person if the specimens were obtained according to the rules prescribed by the state board of health; except that the provision does not relieve the person from liability for negligence in obtaining the specimen sample.

(e) Any person who is dead or unconscious shall be tested to determine the alcohol or drug content of his blood or any drug content of his system as provided in this subsection (4). If a test cannot be administered to a person who is unconscious, hospitalized, or undergoing medical treatment because the test would endanger the person’s life or health, the law enforcement agency shall be allowed to test any blood, urine, or saliva which was obtained and not utilized by a health care provider and shall have access to that portion of the analysis and results of any tests administered by such provider which shows the alcohol or drug content of the person’s blood or any drug content within his system. Such test results shall not be considered privileged communications, and the provisions of section 13-90-107, C.R.S., relating to the physician-patient privilege shall not apply. Any person who is dead, in addition to the tests prescribed, shall also have his blood checked for carbon monoxide content and for the presence of drugs, as prescribed by the department of public health and environment. Such information obtained shall be made a part of the accident report.

(f) If a person refuses to take, or to complete, or to cooperate in the completing of any test or tests as provided in this subsection (4) and such person subsequently stands trial for a violation of subsection (1) (b) of this section, the refusal to take, or to complete, or to cooperate with the completing of any test or tests shall be admissible into evidence at the trial, and a person may not claim the privilege against self-incrimination with regard to the admission of his refusal to take, or to complete, or to cooperate with the completing of any test or tests.

(g) Notwithstanding any provision in section 42-4-1301.1, C.R.S., concerning requirements which relate to the manner in which tests are administered, the test or tests taken pursuant to the provisions of this section may be used for the purposes of driver’s license revocation proceedings under section 42-2-126, C.R.S., and for the purposes of prosecutions for violations of section 42-4-1301 (1) or (2), C.R.S.

(5) In all actions, suits, and judicial proceedings in any court of this state concerning alcohol-related or drug-related traffic offenses, the court shall take judicial notice of methods of testing a person’s alcohol or drug level and of the design and operation of devices, as certified by the department of public health and environment, for testing a person’s blood, breath, saliva, or urine to determine his alcohol or drug level. This subsection (5) shall not prevent the necessity of establishing during a trial that the testing devices used were working properly and that such testing devices were properly operated. Nothing in this subsection (5) shall preclude a defendant from offering evidence concerning the accuracy of testing devices.

Case Law

When you look at the Statute, you may have questions about definitions of certain words or how the Denver Court will interpret certain phrases.  To answer these questions, Defense Attorney turn to "case law."  That is, lawyer’s look at previous cases to determine how these words and phrases should be defined and interpreted. The best way to locate caselaw for free is to go to google scholar and search for legal opinions involving your charges from Colorado courts. Remember to talk to your attorney about any issues in your case and how the lawyer believes that the issues should be handled.


Colorado Penalties for Vehicular Assault

Penalties

The charge of Vehicular Assault, is categorized as a:

F4, if under the influence
F5, if reckless

Click here to find out how much jail time is associated with this penalty.

Important Notes:

Don’t Forget about Immigration:

If you are not a U.S. citizen, be sure to ask your attorney whether your charges will trigger deportation if you are found guilty or plea to the charge.

The information in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or as the creation of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice, please contact an Attorney.

Written by

Nathaniel has worked in criminal law on both sides of the aisle spending time working for the prosecution as well as the defense. Most recently Nathaniel has represented individuals in violent felonies and drug cases. Prior to this work, Nathaniel handled DWIs, Domestic Violence Cases, Property Crimes, and White Collar Crimes. On the prosecutorial side, Nathaniel has most notably worked in Bosnia helping to prosecute individuals who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Bosnian War from 1993-1995. In particular, Nathaniel helped in the prosecution of military leaders who arranged for the organized murders and rapes of innocent civilians in various towns in Bosnia. Nathaniel is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, Northwestern University, and Phillips Exeter Academy. Google Profile: Nathaniel Baca