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The Colorado Crime Of Vehicular Assault 18-3-205

The Colorado Crime Of Vehicular Assault 18-3-205To understand the Colorado Criminal Code and more specifically the charge or charges in the Complaint and Information or Grand Jury Indictment against you – you need TWO things.

I. You Will Need To Understand The Actual Statutory Crime With Which You Have Been Charged

– The statute, as of 2016, appears first on this page.

II. You Will Also Need To Understand How The Jury Or Judge Reads The Elements – ( a jury instruction “breakout” of the necessary parts or list of things that makes up the crime)

– The Jury Instructions for most of the main forms of the crimes with which individuals are charged – appears after a reprint of the statute defining the crime.

The Colorado Statutory Crime of Vehicular Assault 18-3-205

18-3-205.  Vehicular assault.

(1) (a)  If a person operates or drives a motor vehicle in a reckless manner, and this conduct is the proximate cause of serious bodily injury to another, such person commits vehicular assault.

(b) (I) If a person operates or drives a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or one
or more drugs, or a combination of both alcohol and one or more drugs, and this conduct is the
proximate cause of a serious bodily injury to another, such person commits vehicular assault.
This is a strict liability crime.

(II) For the purposes of this subsection (1), one or more drugs means any drug, as defined in
section 27-80-203 (13), C.R.S., any controlled substance, as defined in section 18-18-102 (5), and
any inhaled glue, aerosol, or other toxic vapor or vapors, as defined in section 18-18-412.
(III) The fact that any person charged with a violation of this subsection (1) is or has been
entitled to use one or more drugs under the laws of this state shall not constitute a defense
against any charge of violating this subsection (1).

(IV) “Driving under the influence” means driving a vehicle when a person has consumed alcohol or
one or more drugs, or a combination of alcohol and one or more drugs, which alcohol alone, or one
or more drugs alone, or alcohol combined with one or more drugs affect such person to a degree that
such person is substantially incapable, either mentally or physically, or both mentally and
physically, of exercising clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe
operation of a vehicle.

(c) Vehicular assault, in violation of paragraph (a) of this subsection (1), is a class 5 felony.
Vehicular assault, in violation of paragraph (b) of this subsection (1), is a class 4 felony.

(2) In any prosecution for a violation of subsection (1) of this section, the amount of alcohol in
the defendant’s blood or breath at the time of the commission of the alleged offense, or within a
reasonable time thereafter, as shown by analysis of the defendant’s blood or breath, gives rise to
the following:

(a) If there was at such time 0.05 or less grams of alcohol per one hundred milliliters of blood,
or if there was at such time 0.05 or less grams of alcohol per two hundred ten liters of breath, it
shall be presumed that the defendant was not under the influence of alcohol.
(b) If there was at such time in excess of 0.05 but less than 0.08 grams of alcohol per one hundred
milliliters of blood, or if there was at such time in excess of 0.05 but less than 0.08 grams of
alcohol per two hundred ten liters of breath, such fact may be considered with other competent
evidence in determining whether or not the defendant was under the influence of alcohol.
(c) If there was at such time 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per one hundred milliliters of blood,
or if there was at such time 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per two hundred ten liters of breath,
such fact gives rise to the permissible inference that the defendant was under the  influence of
alcohol.
(d) If at such time the driver’s blood contained five nanograms or more of delta 9-
tetrahydrocannabinol per milliliter in whole blood, as shown by analysis of the defendant’s blood,
such fact gives rise to a permissible inference that the defendant was under the influence of one
or more drugs.

(3) The limitations of subsection (2) of this section shall not be construed as limiting the
introduction, reception, or consideration of any other competent evidence bearing upon the question
of whether or not the defendant was under the influence of alcohol.

(4) (a) If a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that any person was driving a
motor vehicle in violation of paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of this section, the person, upon the
request of the law enforcement officer, shall take, and complete, and cooperate in the completing
of any test or tests of the person’s blood, breath, saliva, or urine for the purpose of determining the alcoholic or drug content within his or her system. The type of test or tests  shall be determined by the law enforcement officer requiring the test or tests.

If the person refuses to take, or to complete, or to cooperate in the completing of any test or tests, the test or tests may be performed at the direction of a law enforcement officer having probable cause, without the person’s authorization or consent. If any person refuses to take, or to complete, or to cooperate in the taking or completing of any test or tests required by this paragraph (a), the person shall be subject to license revocation pursuant to the provisions of section 42-2-126 (3), C.R.S. When
the test or tests show that the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood was in violation of the
limits provided for in section 42-2-126 (3) (a), (3) (b), (3) (d), or (3) (e), C.R.S., the person
shall be subject to license revocation pursuant to the provisions of section 42-2-126, C.R.S.

(b) Any person who is required to submit to testing shall cooperate with the person authorized to
obtain specimens of his blood, breath, saliva, or urine, including the signing of any release or
consent forms required by any person, hospital, clinic, or association authorized to obtain such
specimens. If such person does not cooperate with the person, hospital, clinic, or association
authorized to obtain such specimens, including the signing of any release or consent forms, such
noncooperation shall be considered a refusal to submit to testing.

(c) The tests shall be administered at the direction of a law enforcement officer having probable
cause to believe that the person committed a violation of subparagraph (I) of  paragraph

(b) of subsection (1) of this section and in accordance with rules and regulations prescribed by
the state board of health concerning the health of the person being tested and the accuracy of such
testing. Strict compliance with such rules and regulations shall not be a prerequisite to the
admissibility of test results at trial unless the court finds that the extent of noncompliance with
a board of health rule has so impaired the validity and reliability of the testing method and the
test results as to render the evidence inadmissible. In all other circumstances, failure to
strictly comply with such rules and regulations shall only be considered in the weight to be given
to the test results and not to the admissibility of such test results. It shall not be a
prerequisite to the admissibility of test results at trial that the prosecution present testimony
concerning the composition of any kit used to obtain blood, urine, saliva, or breath specimens. A
sufficient evidentiary foundation concerning the compliance of such kits with the rules and
regulations of the department of public health and environment shall be established by the
introduction of a copy of the manufacturer’s or supplier’s certificate of compliance with such
rules and regulations if such certificate specifies the contents, sterility, chemical makeup, and
amounts of chemicals contained in such kit.

(d) No person except a physician, a registered nurse, a paramedic as certified in part 2 of article
3.5 of title 25, C.R.S., an emergency medical service provider as defined in part 1 of article 3.5
of title 25, C.R.S., or a person whose normal duties include withdrawing blood samples under the
supervision of a physician or registered nurse is entitled to withdraw blood to determine the
alcoholic or drug content of the blood for purposes of this section. In a trial for a violation of
paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of this section, testimony of a law enforcement officer that the
officer witnessed the taking of a blood specimen by a person who the officer reasonably believed
was authorized to withdraw blood specimens is sufficient evidence that the person was authorized,
and testimony from the person who obtained the blood specimens concerning the  person’s
authorization  to  obtain  blood  specimens is  not  a  prerequisite to  the admissibility of  test  results  concerning the blood  specimens  obtained.

No  civil  liability shall attach to a person authorized to obtain blood, breath, saliva, or urine specimens or to a hospital, clinic, or association in or for which the specimens are obtained in accordance with this subsection (4) as a result of the act of obtaining the specimens from any person if the specimens were obtained according to the rules prescribed by the state board of health; except that the provision does not relieve the person from liability for negligence in obtaining the specimen sample.

(e) Any person who is dead or unconscious shall be tested to determine the alcohol or drug content
of his blood or any drug content of his system as provided in this subsection (4). If a test cannot
be administered to a person who is unconscious, hospitalized, or undergoing medical treatment
because the test would endanger the person’s life or health, the law enforcement agency shall be
allowed to test any blood, urine, or saliva which was obtained and not utilized by a health care
provider and shall have access to that portion of the analysis and results of any tests
administered by such provider which shows the alcohol or drug content of the person’s blood or any
drug content within his system. Such test results shall not be considered privileged
communications, and the provisions of section 13-90-107, C.R.S., relating to the physician- patient
privilege shall not apply. Any person who is dead, in addition to the tests prescribed, shall also
have his blood checked for carbon monoxide content and for the presence of drugs, as prescribed by
the department of public health and environment. Such information obtained shall be made a part of
the accident report.

(f) If a person refuses to take, or to complete, or to cooperate in the completing of any  test or
tests as provided in this subsection (4) and such person subsequently stands trial for a violation
of subsection (1) (b) of this section, the refusal to take, or to complete, or to cooperate with
the completing of any test or tests shall be admissible into evidence at the trial, and a person
may not claim the privilege against self-incrimination with regard to the admission of his refusal
to take, or to complete, or to cooperate with the completing of any test or tests.

(g) Notwithstanding any provision in section 42-4-1301.1, C.R.S., concerning requirements which
relate to the manner in which tests are administered, the test or tests taken pursuant to the
provisions of this section may be used for the purposes of driver’s license revocation proceedings
under section 42-2-126, C.R.S., and for the purposes of prosecutions for violations of section
42-4-1301 (1) or (2), C.R.S.

(5) In all actions, suits, and judicial proceedings in any court of this state concerning
alcohol-related or drug-related traffic offenses, the court shall take judicial notice of methods
of testing a person’s alcohol or drug level and of the design and operation of devices, as
certified by the department of public health and environment, for testing a person’s blood, breath,
saliva, or urine to determine his alcohol or drug level. This subsection (5) shall not prevent the
necessity of establishing during a trial that the testing devices used were working properly and
that such testing devices were properly operated. Nothing in this subsection (5) shall preclude a
defendant from offering evidence concerning the accuracy of testing devices.

The Colorado Jury Instruction For Vehicular Assault Based On Reckless Driving

VEHICULAR ASSAULT (RECKLESS)

The elements of the crime of vehicular assault (reckless) are:

1.   That the defendant,

2.   in the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged,

3.   operated or drove a motor vehicle,

4.   in a reckless manner, and

5.   such conduct was the proximate cause of serious bodily injury to another person.

[6. and that the defendant’s conduct was not legally authorized by the affirmative defense[s] in
Instruction[s]   .]

VEHICULAR ASSAULT (UNDER THE INFLUENCE)

The elements of the crime of vehicular assault (under the influence) are:

1.   That the defendant,

2.   in the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged,

3.   operated or drove a motor vehicle,

4.  while under the influence of alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of both alcohol and
one or more drugs,

5. and such conduct was the proximate cause of serious bodily injury to another person.

[6. and that the defendant’s conduct was not legally authorized by the affirmative defense[s] in
Instruction[s]   .]

 

Summary
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The Colorado Crime Of Vehicular Assault 18-3-205
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___________________________
H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
A Denver, Colorado Lawyer Focused Exclusively On
Colorado Criminal Law For Over 30 Years.
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