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Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-60d – Assault in the Second Degree With a Motor Vehicle

Car Crash Assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle or C.G.S. § 53a-60d is a charge alleged in DUI arrests where there was an accident that caused a serious physical injury. You could be charged with assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle if you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident while under the influence, and anyone is seriously injured, and the state can prove that the accident was caused in part due to the effects of your intoxication. This offense is classified as a Class D felony for which you could serve up to 5 years in jail.

Elements of the Crime Which Must be Proven by The State

To be found guilty of assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle or C.G.S. § 53a-60d, the state’s attorney must establish the following elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused was operating a motor vehicle;
  2. The defendant was under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs or both;
  3. There was an accident that caused a serious physical injury to another person;
  4. The alcohol or drug intoxication or its effects were a contributing factor in the cause of the accident;

A conviction for assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle or C.G.S. § 53a-60d does not require that the state prove that you intended to cause a serious physical injury. Also, this statute has no requirement that the state prove that you acted with a reckless disregard for safety or even that you acted with some level of negligence. All the state has to demonstrate with proof beyond a reasonable doubt is that the accused’s intoxication was a factor in causing the accident and that a serious physical injury resulted.

Where a driver who is intoxicated can be shown to cause an accident intentionally or with a reckless disregard that results in a serious physical injury of another person, the accused driver could be charged with the more serious crime of assault in the second degree in violation of C.G.S. § 53a-60 which is a Class C felony. Thus, the lower level assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle C.G.S. § 53a-60d has no mental intent requirement, only the requirement that intoxication contributed to an accident that caused a serious physical injury.

Examples

A man is intoxicated after drinking alcohol while driving, and he gets into a multi-car accident at an intersection while his car is in motion. A passenger in one of the vehicles involved in the accident sustains a serious physical injury. Since the intoxication of the driver was a contributing factor in the accident and a serious physical injury was sustained, the man can be charged with assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle.

A man is very intoxicated after a night of drinking and passed out behind the wheel of his car parked in a parking spot on the side of the roadway. Another vehicle loses control and slams into his car, causing a serious physical injury to the other driver. The intoxicated man can not be charged with assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle as his intoxication was not a factor in this accident.

Related Offenses
  • Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-56b – Manslaughter in the Second Degree with a Motor Vehicle
  • Connecticut General Statutes § 14-227a – DUI
  • Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-60 – Assault in the Second Degree
Defenses to Assault in the Second Degree with a Motor Vehicle or C.G.S. § 53a-60d

Defending a charge of assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle involves negating the state’s ability to prove the core elements of this crime. As with any DUI case, the state has the burden to prove that the accused was operating a motor vehicle under the influence.

Often, constitutional rights may have been violated that can offer opportunities to suppress evidence. In other cases, the police may not have followed the proper procedures to build their case and collect evidence. Since these prosecutions frequently are initiated after a blood sample is taken at a hospital, the chain of evidence is a frequent area where the state makes errors. As with any other DUI case, the state must prove each element of the case against you, including the fact that you were intoxicated.

The second most common approach to defending assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle cases is to attack the state’s theory that somehow intoxication was a contributing factor in the accident. The state has to prove that your intoxication was a factor in causing the accident. The state has the burden to prove this element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Often this part of the case comes down to a battle of accident reconstruction experts. The state can not convict you on speculation and conjecture. They need to prove that your intoxication was a cause of the accident.

Finally, the serious physical injury element of this crime requires significant disfigurement, impairment of health, or a function of an organ of the body. The state has to prove that the victim has not recovered and that the victim has these kinds of serious impairments that are required by the statute and not some minor injuries. If the state can not prove that the victim sustained a serious physical injury, then you can not be convicted of this crime.

This crime has been precluded from eligibility in the accelerated pretrial rehabilitation diversionary program for first-time offenders. Therefore, you can not use the accelerated pretrial rehabilitation program to resolve these allegations.

Penalties

Assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle C.G.S. § 53a-60d is a Class D felony, and you could be sentenced to 5 years in jail, ordered to pay a fine up to $5,000 and lose your driver’s license for a year.

Criminal Defense for Assualt in the Second Degree with a Motor Vehicle

If you or a family member has been charged with assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle in violation of C.G.S. § 53a-60d, it is critical that you consult with an effective and experienced Connecticut criminal defense lawyer. Stamford criminal lawyer Allan F. Friedman has extensive experience in defending allegations of this nature. Attorney Friedman uses the best investigators and accident reconstruction experts to gather the evidence needed to refute the assumption that you were responsible for the serious physical injury to another person. Being charged with a crime like assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle in the second degree can be a frightening and terrifying experience. You need a zealous and determined advocate to protect your rights and obtain the most favorable result possible.

For more information about defending assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle charges, and to arrange a free consultation to review your case, contact Stamford criminal defense lawyer Allan F. Friedman at The Law Offices of Allan F. Friedman located at 24 Hoyt St #A, Stamford, CT 06905. Mr. Friedman can be reached 24/7 at (203) 357-5555, or you can contact us online for a prompt response.

Our office is conveniently located one block from the Stamford Courthouse.

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