Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol can lead to serious consequences, particularly for Tennessee drivers who cause an accident. In some cases, a DUI driver may be charged with a felony crime if someone was hurt or killed in the car crash. Although these injuries are unintended, people who are convicted of criminal offenses in an accident DUI case may face serious penalties. Nashville DUI lawyer Bernie McEvoy is committed to defending people accused of driving under the influence and other criminal offenses. He can provide trustworthy guidance regarding an accident DUI in Davidson or Williamson County.Criminal Offenses for a Tennessee DUI Accident
Vehicular assault is a Tennessee crime that may be charged in DUI accident cases involving personal injuries. Vehicular assault occurs when, as a proximate result of intoxication, a driver recklessly causes serious bodily injury to another person by operation of a motor vehicle. Aggravated vehicular assault occurs under the same circumstances, but may be charged if the driver has a criminal history of drunk driving. Aggravated vehicular assault may apply to defendants who have been previously convicted of vehicular assault or vehicular homicide, or who have multiple prior DUIs or alcohol-related convictions. It may apply to drivers with just one prior DUI if they had a blood alcohol concentration of .20% or more at the time of the accident. Other factors may also result in an aggravated vehicular assault charge.
Vehicular assault is a Class D felony offense in Tennessee, punishable by incarceration, fines, and a license revocation. Aggravated vehicular assault is a Class C felony with greater penalties upon conviction. A well-prepared defense strategy to a vehicular assault charge is important, because a violation carries a mandatory minimum jail sentence. First-time offenders must serve a minimum of 48 hours of incarceration for a vehicular assault conviction. For defendants with one prior DUI or other alcohol-related conviction, a mandatory minimum sentence of 45 consecutive days is imposed. Multiple prior convictions for alcohol-related offenses result in progressively greater mandatory minimum sentences.
In a fatal DUI accident, the defendant may be arrested for vehicular homicide. Vehicular homicide is the reckless killing of another person by the operation of an automobile, airplane, motorboat, or other motor vehicle as the proximate result of the driver’s alcohol or drug intoxication. Vehicular homicide for driving under the influence is a Class B felony offense. The offense may be elevated to a Class A felony for aggravated vehicular homicide for drivers who have been previously convicted of certain alcohol-related offenses. The aggravating factors may include two or more convictions for DUI or vehicular assault, one prior vehicular homicide conviction, or other factors specified in the statute. Just as for vehicular assault, a mandatory minimum sentence is imposed for a vehicular homicide conviction.Defenses
With the possibility of mandatory incarceration and other serious consequences upon conviction, defending against these charges may be crucial. The defenses that are available in an accident DUI case will depend on the facts. In most cases, establishing that the defendant was not intoxicated by drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident will defeat a charge of vehicular assault or vehicular homicide. The defense has the right to present evidence to rebut the prosecution’s case and object to inadmissible evidence. A complete defense strategy may also include exploring plea agreement deals with the prosecution. To learn more, discuss the specifics of your situation with qualified defense counsel.Retain an Accident DUI Lawyer for Your Defense in Nashville
A skilled DUI attorney can assist you in defending against felony charges for vehicular assault or homicide. Attorney Bernie McEvoy is a former prosecutor with years of experience in DUI cases. He can represent people with criminal cases in areas throughout Davidson and Williamson Counties, including in Nashville and Franklin. Request a free consultation to discuss your case by calling the Law Office of Bernie McEvoy at (615) 255-9595 during business hours or (615) 804-8779 on nights and weekends, or contact us online.