Vehicular assault is a felony in New York that occurs when a person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol causes serious physical injuries to another person in an automobile accident. The drunk driver may also be charged with DWI/DUI, but the vehicular assault charges are much more serious.
In order to be charged with vehicular assault, the other individual involved in the wreck must have suffered “serious physical injuries”, which are defined as injuries that “create a substantial risk of death, or which causes death or serious and protracted disfigurement, protracted loss, or impairment of the function of any organ”. Therefore, if a drunk driver caused an accident in which a person broke an arm or suffered a cut, those injuries should not be serious enough for the driver to face vehicular assault charges.
There are several types of vehicular assault charges in New York. Second degree vehicular assault is a Class E felony. First degree vehicular assault is a Class D felony and carries more serious penalties. A first degree vehicular assault occurs when a driver commits a vehicular assault and has a blood alcohol content of over 0.18, has a suspended license, has been convicted of drunk driving in the last 10 years, causes serious injuries to more than one person, or has previously been convicted of vehicular assault.
A third type of vehicular assault is the crime of aggravated vehicular assault, which is a Class C felony. Aggravated vehicular assault occurs when a driver commits a vehicular assault and has a blood alcohol content of 0.18 or higher, has driven with a suspended license, has been convicted of DWI in the past 10 years, has caused serious injury to more than one person, has previously been convicted of homicide, or has injured a child passenger who is 15 years old or younger.