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Vehicular Assault / DWI

A driver who is allegedly under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or a combination of drugs and/or alcohol and seriously injures another person can be charged with vehicular assault in New York. This is a felony offense that can result in a very lengthy term of imprisonment and enormous fines, not to mention severe driver’s license implications (i.e., suspension, revocation, etc.).

People who have been accused of this crime need to know that being charged with this crime does not necessarily mean a conviction is automatic. It may be possible to prove that a motorist was not intoxicated or that the injuries a person sustained are not, in fact, serious enough to justify these felony charges.

The District Attorney for New York County (Manhattan) relies on the Vehicular Crimes Unit. The Unit oversees and provides support to Assistants District Attorneys office-wide in cases including Vehicular Homicide, Assault, DWI and other vehicle-related crimes. 

The Vehicular Crimes Unit works closely with the New York Police Department’s Collision Investigation Squad and Highway Unit. These prosecutors are focused on vehicular crimes. You also need an attorney focused on defending vehicular crimes.

Lawyer in Manhattan for Vehicular Assault Crimes

If you were allegedly driving while intoxicated (DWI) and have been arrested for vehicular assault, you will want to be sure to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Greco Neyland, PC represents clients facing these charges in Manhattan and New York City.

Jeff Greco and Dustan Neyland have both worked as assistant district attorneys, responsible for handling 1,000s of DWI and vehicular assault cases. Our New York City DWI assault attorneys understand the best defenses in these types of cases. You can let our firm review your case and discuss your legal options when you call (212) 951-1300 today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.


New York City DWI Assault Information Center


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Vehicular Assault Charges in Manhattan

Under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law Article 31 § 1192.2, the per se definition of DWI is when a motorist operates a motor vehicle while he or she has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. A serious physical injury is defined in New York Penal Law Article 10 § 10.00.10 as meaning a “physical injury which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes death or serious and protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of health or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.”

There are three levels of vehicular assault under Article 120 of New York Penal Law:

  • Vehicular Assault in the Second Degree, New York Penal Law § 120.03 — Class E felony if a person causes serious physical injury as a result of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated or impaired by the use of alcohol, a drug, or by the combined influence of drugs or of alcohol and any drug or drugs, operating a motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 18,000 pounds that contains flammable gas, radioactive materials, or explosives, or a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle (ATV).
  • Vehicular Assault in the First Degree, New York Penal Law § 120.04 — Class D felony if a person allegedly commits vehicular assault in the second degree and either:
    • Has a BAC of 0.18 or higher
    • Has a suspended or revoked license
    • Has been previously convicted of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs within the previous 10 years
    • Causes serious physical injury to more than one person
    • Has been previously convicted of vehicular assault, vehicular manslaughter, or aggravated vehicular homicide
    • Has a passenger who is 15 years of age or younger in his or her motor vehicle and causes serious physical injury to such child.
  • Aggravated Vehicular Assault, New York Penal Law § 120.04-a — Class C felony if a person commits vehicular assault in the first degree and also engages in reckless driving, defined in New York Vehicle and Traffic Law Article 33 § 1212 as driving or using any motor vehicle in “a manner which unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway, or unreasonably endangers users of the public highway.”

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New York City DWI Assault Penalties

A conviction for any vehicular assault offense can have significant immediate and long-term consequences for individuals. Sentencing depends on the specific classification of the crime for which the alleged offender has been convicted.

In addition to a maximum fine of $5,000, a person can face the following terms of imprisonment if convicted:

  • Class E Felony — Up to four years in prison
  • Class D Felony — Up to seven years in prison
  • Class C Felony — Up to 15 years in prison

A felony conviction can also have the following additional consequences:

  • Disqualification from voting while in prison and while on parole
  • Disqualification from serving on a federal grand jury, petit jury, or New York state jury
  • Ineligibility to enlist in any service of the armed forces
  • Prohibition from possessing a firearm
  • Prohibition from receiving firearm license
  • Automatic driver’s license revocation

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Manhattan DWI Assault Defenses

Prosecutors in these types of cases need to prove multiple aspects of an alleged offender’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Charges may be reduced or completely dismissed through defenses that include, but are not limited to:

  • Alleged offender was not intoxicated or impaired by the use of alcohol, a drug, or by the combined influence of drugs or of alcohol and any drug or drugs
  • Alleged victim’s injury did not create a substantial risk of death or cause death or serious and protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of health, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ
  • Failure to prove alleged offender’s intoxication or impairment was direct cause of alleged victim’s serious physical injury

Vehicular Crimes in Manhattan

The Vehicular Crimes Unit of the District Attorneys Office for New York County (Manhattan) oversees and provides support to Assistants District Attorneys office-wide in cases including Vehicular Homicide, Assault, DWI and other vehicle-related crimes. Cases for vehicular crimes often involve technical and scientific evidence used to obtain blood search warrants, accident reconstruction, field sobriety testing, and breathalyzers.

The Vehicular Crimes Unit works closely with the New York Police Department’s Collision Investigation Squad and Highway Unit. Prosecutors often interact with detectives right after the crash occurs. In fact, Assistant District Attorneys often go to the crash scenes to aid in the investigation.

Assistant District Attorneys receive specialized training on vehicular homicide cases. More than 40 of the prosecutors have this specialized training in vehicular crimes prosecution.


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Find a Vehicular Assault Lawyer in New York City

Were you arrested and charged with one of these violations of New York Vehicle and Traffic Law? You cannot afford to delay in finding legal representation.

Jeff Greco and Dustan Neyland thoroughly investigate every circumstance surrounding these types of cases, and Greco Neyland, PC aggressively defends people from Manhattan and the greater New York City area. The attorneys represent clients charged with both DWI and DWAI. Whether your case involves a breath test, a blood test or a refusal to submit to testing, a first offense or a repeat violation, the attorneys at Greco Neyland, PC are ready to help.

Our Manhattan DWI assault attorneys will provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call (212) 951-1300 to schedule your free legal consultation. Call to find out more about how we fight serious traffic offenses throughout New York City.


This article was last updated on Friday, May 27, 2016.

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Experience as a former prosecutor gives Jeffery Greco an edge in building the strongest possible defense strategy for the accused in New York City.
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