If you have been arrested for DUI after an accident, you should contact our office as soon as possible. Depending on the circumstances, you could face serious charges and even jail time if you’re convicted.
It’s not unusual for someone intoxicated and driving to be arrested after an accident. The Colorado Division of Criminal Justice states that of the more than 26,000 Driving Under the Influence (DUI) cases filed in Colorado in 2018:
- Almost 26% of drivers convicted of DUI were involved in crashes, with 909 of them involved in collisions with injuries
- Crash involvement was much lower for drivers testing positive for only Delta 9-THC (7%), which tests for marijuana use
- Convicted drivers testing positive for alcohol and Delta-9 THC had the highest crash rate at 29%
Depending on how intoxicated you are, you could be charged with driving under the influence or driving while ability impaired. But that may be just the start.
Vehicular Homicide and Assault
If you drove under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and were involved in an accident that caused someone’s death, you could be charged with vehicular homicide, or vehicular manslaughter, a Class 3 felony where those convicted may face a maximum 12-year prison term and a fine of up to $750,000.
If you drove a vehicle in a reckless manner but not under the influence and killed someone, you could be charged with the same crime, but it would be a Class 4 felony. A conviction carries a maximum prison sentence of six years and a fine not to exceed $500,000.
If the crash results in a person’s serious bodily injury, a possible criminal charge is vehicular assault, a Class 4 felony. Under state law, serious bodily injury is defined as any injury that, either immediately after the accident or later, involves broken or fractured bones, second- or third-degree burns, or a substantial risk of:
- Serious permanent disfigurement
- Protracted loss or impairment of the senses or bodily functions
Common accident-related injuries, such as concussions or soft-tissue injuries like whiplash, are generally not considered permanent or life-threatening.
Reckless and Careless Driving
If no one is seriously injured or killed, you may be charged with reckless driving, depending on what led to the accident. Under state law, the prosecution must prove that your driving showed “…either a wanton or a willful disregard for the safety of persons or property…” Examples of this kind of behavior could be:
- Traveling far faster than the posted speed limit
- Tailgating at high speed
- Road rage
- Weaving in and out of lanes
- Ignoring stop signs or lights
Reckless driving in Colorado is a Class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense. Penalties include jail time from ten to 90 days and a fine of up to $300. Jail time and the fine increase if you’ve had prior convictions.
If your driving was less dangerous before the accident, you may be charged with careless driving, which is described as driving, “…in a careless and imprudent manner, without due regard for the width, grade, curves, corners, traffic, and use of the streets and highways and all other attendant circumstances…”
Anyone causing an accident could face this charge. It may involve being distracted, speeding, traveling too fast for conditions, or tailgating. Careless driving is also a Class 2 misdemeanor unless it causes an injury, then it’s a Class 1 misdemeanor. A conviction could result in a maximum sentence of 18 months in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
Let A Denver DUI Defense Lawyer Help You Avoid a Conviction
If you face a felony or misdemeanor charge, contact Attorney Kevin Churchill as soon as possible because the consequences of a conviction can be life-changing. When you call Churchill DUI Defense, you will get the best help possible. Contact us at (303) 832-9000 or use our easy online contact form today to schedule a free consultation with our Denver felony DUI defense attorney.