Leaving the bar, you may not have felt that the drinks you had impaired your ability to drive. However, after the accident, you're not so certain. But you do know that whether you were drunk or sober, there was nothing you could have done that would have changed the outcome.
When law enforcement arrived though, the alcohol on your breath was all the officer needed to take you in. Now your rights are in danger and your future is on the line.
What is vehicular assault?
The Tennessee Code defines vehicular assault as the serious injury of another person with a vehicle as a result of intoxication. The law says there must be proof that the alcohol in your blood was the proximate cause of the accident. Therein lies one possible defense.
What are the penalties?
You will face a Class D felony charge, and if convicted, the severity of your penalty may largely be at the discretion of the judge. He or she could sentence you to probation, or to between two and 12 years in jail, plus thousands of dollars in fines and court costs. You will lose your driver's license for at least a year, and unlike with a lesser DUI penalty, you cannot get a restricted license.
Regardless of the severity of the sentence, you will have a criminal record. In the future, this can be viewed by almost anyone who can order a background check, including a potential employer or landlord.
What can you do?
The prosecutor will want to prove to the court that you had alcohol in your blood, and therefore, you caused the crash. Witnesses, road conditions, video or other evidence may indicate otherwise. Your first step is to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.