Difference Between Vehicular Assault and Aggravated Vehicular Assault in Ohio
11 Nov
Author: Colin Maher
Date: 2020-11-11
Categories: Traffic

What Is the Difference Between Vehicular Assault and Aggravated Vehicular Assault in Ohio

Before I delve into the difference between a vehicular assault charge and an aggravated vehicular assault charge, I must stress that police and prosecutors in Columbus Ohio take both alleged offenses very seriously. A driver accused of assaulting someone with their car, truck, motorcycle or other vehicle faces a felony conviction and mandatory jail time.

While it is true that vehicular assault carries lower statutory penalties than aggravated vehicular assault, neither charge should be taken lightly. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney in Columbus can help to secure an acquittal (not guilty) or negotiating a favorable plea deal.

How the Ohio Revised Code Defines Vehicular Assault

Section 2903.08 of the O.R.C. makes it a criminal offense to use a motor vehicle, including a watercraft or aircraft, to physically harm another person while operating recklessly or while moving through a construction zone.

The alleged offense is prosecuted as a felony of the fourth degree, and a conviction or guilty plea will result in a mandatory jail sentence of up to 18 months. In addition, there is the potential for a fine up to $5,000, and up to a 5-year driver’s license suspension.

Defining Aggravated Vehicular Assault in Ohio

O.R.C. 2903.08 further states that aggravated vehicular assault is the crime of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol that results in serious injury to another. As an aggravated offense, the alleged crime is generally prosecuted as a felony of the third degree with the maximum sentence of up to 36 months in jail, a $10,000 fine, and a 10-year license suspension.

An aggravated vehicular assault charge can also be prosecuted as a felony of the second degree when the accused driver

  • Was driving despite having their license suspended,
  • Already has an aggravated vehicular assault conviction on their record,
  • Already has a conviction for a traffic-related homicide or manslaughter,
  • Already has three or more convictions for driving under the influence, or
  • Already has three or more convictions for vehicular assault.

The maximum statutory penalties for this higher degree felony include up to 8 years in prison, a $15,000 fine, and a 10-year driver’s license suspension. Aggravated possession of drugs Ohio

Possible Defenses Against a Vehicular Assault Charge

Securing a conviction requires convincing a judge or jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused driver

  • Was operating the vehicle at the time the alleged injury occurred;
  • Intended to cause an injury, was operating recklessly, or was under the influence of drugs or alcohol; and
  • Inflicted injuries that were serious, which is generally understood to mean the injuries required treatment at an emergency room or hospital.

An experienced Columbus criminal defense attorney will make police and prosecutors prove each of those facts. Having a charge dismissed entirely is not always possible, but casting doubt on the facts of the case can result in prosecutor offers to plead down to a lesser offense.

Colin Maher of the Columbus-based Maher Law Firm advises and represents criminal defendants throughout Franklin County. He devotes a considerable portion of his practice to helping individuals who are accused of alcohol-related offenses, so he is well-prepared to help with aggravated vehicular assault cases. You can contact him online or speak with Colin directly by calling (614) 205-2208.

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