DUI Causing Injury in Colorado

Under Colorado Revised Statutes 18-3-205, "vehicular assault" can be charged when a motorist is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol that causes an injury accident. The penalties and consequences of DUI causing injury in Colorado include up to 4 years prison time, a fine of up to $500,000.00, as well as a drivers license suspension and victim restitution. 

“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.” C.R.S. 18-3-205(1)(b)(I).

If you have been involved in a DUI accident where another person was injured or killed, our Colorado DUI attorneys are available to answer your questions and concerns about how to handle a DUI causing injury in Colorado.

After reading this article, if you have any other questions about how a DUI causing injury in Colorado or if you would like to discuss your case, please contact us at Colorado Legal Defense Group.

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DUI vehicular assault is considered a Class 4 felony in Colorado.

1. How Does the Prosecutor Prove that I am Guilty of DUI Causing Injury?

In order to be convicted of DUI causing injury in Colorado, the prosecutor must show two elements:

  1. The person operating the motor vehicle was under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs; and
  2. Their conduct is the proximate cause of serious bodily injury to another.

Unlike some other states, the prosecutor does not have to show that the driver was operating the vehicle in a reckless or negligent manner above and beyond the effects of alcohol. This is a strict liability crime. Simply being impaired by alcohol or drugs which is a proximate cause of the injury is sufficient to establish the crime of DUI causing injury.

A driver is “under the influence” if they consumed they consumed alcohol, drugs, or a combination of drugs, and the alcohol and/or drugs affect the driver to a degree that they are substantially incapable, either mentally or physically, of exercising clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe operation of a vehicle.1

The presumption of intoxication depends on the driver's blood alcohol content (BAC) test after the accident. If there BAC was 0.05% or lower, they are presumed to not be under the influence. If the BAC is over 0.05% but under 0.08%, their alcohol level may be considered with other evidence to determine whether they were under the influence. If their BAC os 0.08% or higher, it gives rise to a permissible inference that the driver was under the influence.2

For the purpose of vehicular assault charges, “drugs” are not limited to street drugs. Prescription drugs, medical marijuana, inhaled vapors, and even over-the-counter drugs can qualify if they had an impairing effect on the driver.3

2. What are the Penalties for DUI Causing Injury?

DUI causing injury is considered a Class 4 felony in Colorado. Penalties may depend on the driver's criminal history and history of drunk driving offenses. A conviction for DUI causing injury can result in 2 to 4 years in prison, with a mandatory minimum 3-year parole period, and a fine of up to $500,000. Additional penalties may include a revocation of your Colorado driver's license for one year and restitution payments to the injury victim.

3. How Do I Fight a DUI with injury Charge?

There are a number of possible defenses to DUI with injury charges, depending on the specific factors involved in your case. Your Colorado DUI defense attorney will examine the evidence, conduct an investigation of the accident, and identify all available defenses in your case. Possible defenses may include:

Depending on the accident involved, your attorney may also dispute that the accident was caused by the influence of drugs or alcohol. This could involve an investigation and an accident reconstruction expert who testifies that the accident was caused by the other driver, the weather conditions, or hazardous road conditions.

4. Related Offenses

There are other offenses that may be charged instead of vehicular assault, depending on the type of accident involved. If there were no serious injuries or the accident only involved property damage, the driver may face a standard DUI charge under C.R.S. 42-4-1301. However, if another person was killed in the accident involving drugs or alcohol, the driver could face the more serious charge of vehicular homicide. 

4.1 DUI Vehicular Homicide, C.R.S. 18-3-106

In order to be convicted of a DUI vehicular homicide under Colorado Revised Statutes 18-3-106, the prosecutor must show two elements:

  1. The person operating the motor vehicle was under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs; and
  2. Their conduct is the proximate cause of death to another.5

Vehicular homicide is a Class 3 felony. As with a DUI causing injury, the penalties may depend on the driver's criminal history and history of drunk driving offenses. A conviction for DUI vehicular homicide can result in 4-12 years in prison and a fine of up to $750,000.

Call us for help...

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If you were involved in a DUI accident that resulted in bodily injury to another driver, pedestrian, or even your own passenger, please contact us. Our Colorado DUI lawyers have many years of experience representing clients who have been involved in an accident involving alcohol or drugs. We are among the best Colorado DUI defense attorneys to call. Contact us for a free consultation by phone or in-person or in our Denver DUI office.


Legal References

  1. C.R.S. 18-3-205(1)(b)(IV)
  2. C.R.S. 18-3-205(2)
  3. C.R.S. 18-3-205(1)(b)(II)
  4. C.R.S. 18-3-205(1)(b)(III)
  5. C.R.S. 18-3-106(1)(b)(1)

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