Vehicular Assault – Tennessee Law

If you have been charged with Vehicular Assault in Knoxville or Gatlinburg, Tennessee, you should contact our experienced criminal defense lawyers. It is important to act quickly so that our vehicular assault attorneys can begin investigating your case. In some cases, it is necessary to seek independent testing if a blood sample was taken after the traffic accident and to take pictures at the accident scene to ensure it is in the same or similar condition as the time of the accident.

Under Tennessee law a person commits Vehicular Assault who, as the proximate result of the persons’ intoxication, recklessly causes serious bodily injury to another person by the operation of a motor vehicle, including both alcohol and drug intoxication. Commonly, persons charged with Vehicular Assault will also face prosecution for Driving Under the Influence – DUI – in Tennessee.

To be found guilty of Vehicular Assault, the State must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. That the defendant caused serious bodily injury (bodily injury that involves a substantial risk of death, protracted unconsciousness, extreme physical pain, protracted or obvious disfigurement, or protracted loss or substantial impairment of a function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty) to the alleged victim by the operation of a motor vehicle; and
  2. That the serious bodily injury was the proximate result of the driver’s intoxication (i.e., mental or physical condition which is the result of taking intoxicants or drugs in any form and which deprives one of that clearness of mind and control of oneself which one would otherwise possess);
  3. that the defendant acted recklessly (i.e., the defendant was aware of, but consciously disregarded, a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the alleged victim would be killed. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that its disregard constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the defendant’s standpoint.) The requirement of “recklessly” is established if it is shown that the defendant acted either intentionally or knowingly.

Vehicular Assault in Tennessee is a Class D Felony, punishable by 2 to 12 years imprisonment, a fine up to $5,000, and the loss of driving privileges dependent upon the driver’s prior criminal convictions for vehicular assault, vehicular homicide, and/or driving under the influence. The judge may also impose additional penalties such as alcohol and drug treatment, Victim Impact Panel, DUI School, Repeat Offender’s School, community service, or other measures deemed necessary by the trial judge.

The penalties for Vehicular Assault are severe. A felony criminal conviction means the loss of rights, privileges, and liberty. If you have been charged with DUI, Vehicular Assault, or other alcohol or driving related offense, contact the experienced Vehicular Assault attorneys at Baker Associates in Sevierville, Tennessee for a free consultation.