Driving under the influence, driving while intoxicated or a drunken driving conviction carries a series of severe legal penalties that will be imposed on the driver if he was caught with a blood alcohol concentration level higher than 0.08%. In New York, there’s another drunken driving related arrest known as driving while impaired by alcohol (DWIA), where the driver’s alcohol level is between 0.06 % – 0.079%, in this case all penalties are applicable except the criminality record. These harsh consequences will be aggravated if the DUI involves serious bodily injury to another human being.
Serious Bodily Injury or Vehicle Assault
Every state has its own different way of describing serious bodily injury. California, per example, and some other states refer to it using the term of “great bodily injury”. In New York, we refer to it as “vehicle assault”.
Generally speaking, a serious bodily injury comprises the following disorders:
- A loss of consciousness
- Severe physical pain
- Serious deformity
- Permanent damage of one or more corporal membranes.
- Loss of mental abilities
- Death probability cause by serious injuries.
All these conditions should be proved by the testimony of an expert medical physician.
Vehicle Assault Penalties
In New York, the person is charged with vehicle assault in the second degree when he causes serious bodily injury to another person either:
- While operating a motor vehicle (car, motorcycle, truck, ATV, motorized scooter, and a boat powered by an engine) in violation of subdivision two, three, four or four-a of section eleven hundred ninety-two of the vehicle and traffic law while intoxicated or impaired by alcohol or drugs.
- While driving a vehicle weighting greater than eighteen thousand pounds and holding inflammable gas or explosives in violation of subdivision one of section eleven hundred ninety-two of the vehicle and traffic law while intoxicated or impaired by alcohol or drugs.
- While operating a snowmobile or ATV while intoxicated or impaired by alcohol or drugs.
Under these circumstances, the driver will face the penalties of a class E felony.
An aggravated charge may occur when the driver’s blood alcohol content level is higher than 0.18% then he will be charged of a vehicle assault in the first degree and face charges of a class D felony.