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Vehicular assault: what are the possible punishments?

We have written in the past about the potentially devastating punishments that await Colorado drivers convicted of a first-offense DUI. Jail time, loss of drivers license, fines, fees, alcohol classes and mandated ignition interlock device installation are among the penalties for a first drunk driving offense.

The stakes are much higher, however, for those who face a charge of vehicular assault. That's the case with a former Jefferson County sheriff's deputy arrested this past summer for DUI and vehicular assault after he allegedly caused a car accident that injured a Littleton man. 

The former deputy recently entered a guilty plea to charges of vehicular assault and official misconduct. He was on duty at the time of the crash.

He is to be sentenced Dec. 1.

Because vehicular assault is a Class 5 felony, sentencing guidelines call for two to three years in prison, in addition to substatial fines. If the court finds that there were extraordinary aggravating circumstances, the prison sentence can go up to 6 years. If the court finds that the accused posed an extraordinary risk of harm to society, he can be ordered to spend 8 years in prison.

Mitigating circumstances, on the other hand, could reduce the sentence to six months in prison.

In some cases involving vehicular assault or vehicular homicide charges, it makes the most sense for the defendant to have their defense attorney negotiate a plea agreement that minimizes punishment. In other situations, it makes more sense to fight the charges at trial. An experienced Denver defense lawyer can help you understand your options and then pursue a favorable outcome.

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