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At O’Brien & Eggleston PLLC, our Albany criminal defense attorneys know that if a passenger is injured as a result of a Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) crash in New York, the driver could face charges of vehicular assault, which may be classified as a felony, depending on the severity of the injuries.

Additionally, if the passenger suffers severe or fatal injuries, the driver could be charged with more serious offenses such as aggravated vehicular assault or vehicular manslaughter. These charges carry significant legal consequences, including potential imprisonment, fines, and a permanent criminal record. Here, our Albany County DWI defense lawyers explain the differences in these potentially life-changing charges.

DWI Crash

What is Considered Vehicular Assault and Aggravated Vehicular Assault in New York?

In New York, a vehicular assault charge is a severe criminal offense involving causing injury to another person while operating a motor vehicle under certain conditions.

There are different degrees of vehicular assault, including:

  • Vehicular Assault in the Second Degree: This occurs when a driver, while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs, causes serious physical injury to another person. It is a Class E felony.
  • Vehicular Assault in the First Degree: This occurs when the driver, while intoxicated, causes serious physical injury under aggravated circumstances, such as having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.18% or higher, having a prior DWI conviction within the last ten years, or causing injury to more than one person. It is a Class D felony.

Both charges carry severe penalties, including imprisonment, fines, and a permanent criminal record. Convictions also result in the lengthy or permanent revocation of the driver’s license and may include mandatory participation in rehabilitation programs.

What is Considered Vehicular Manslaughter in New York?

Vehicular manslaughter in New York involves causing the death of another person while operating a motor vehicle negligently or recklessly, often under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

There are two degrees of vehicular manslaughter:

  • Vehicular Manslaughter in the Second Degree: This occurs when a person, while intoxicated or impaired by alcohol or drugs, causes the death of another person. It is a Class D felony.
  • Vehicular Manslaughter in the First Degree: This more severe charge applies when the driver, while intoxicated, causes death under aggravated circumstances, such as:
  • Having a BAC of 0.18% or higher.
  • Having a prior DWI conviction within the last ten years.
  • Causing the death of more than one person.
  • Causing the death of a child under the age of 15.
  • Driving with a suspended or revoked license due to previous alcohol or drug-related offenses.
  • Committing the offense while driving a commercial vehicle with a 0.04% or higher BAC.

First-degree vehicular manslaughter is a Class C felony and carries more severe penalties than second-degree. Convictions for either degree of vehicular manslaughter can result in lengthy prison sentences, substantial fines, revocation of driving privileges, and a permanent criminal record.

Contact Our Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you have been arrested for a DWI, DWI resulting in injuries or death, contact our Albany criminal defense attorneys at O’Brien & Eggleston PLLC today by calling (518)-391-2369 or online to ensure your rights are protected from the start. We have a strong track record of producing real results for our clients. Allow us to pursue the best outcome for your case, too.

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