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Traffic Crimes Are Overcharged Across Colorado

Posted by Nikea Bland | Aug 27, 2015 | 0 Comments

Our criminal justice system is flawed in many ways. One of the ways is how crimes are charged. Many times, people are overcharged for traffic crimes in Arapahoe and Douglas County, Colorado. This places people in a hard place, since insurance rates and jobs are tied to a clean DMV record. You should always consult a criminal defense lawyer early on if facing multiple traffic crime charges.

Traffic Crimes in Adams County and Across Colorado

In today's blog, we'll use a fictional example of what a situation of overcharged traffic crimes may look like in Adams County and across Colorado:

“Samantha works early in the morning until late at night in Adams County. She's usually on time for work, but one morning she's running late. She not only begins to speed, but she also tries to put makeup on while driving. At one of the red lights she approaches, a cyclist is crossing the crosswalk. Because Samantha is speeding and still looking in the mirror, she doesn't see him. Samantha ends up hitting the cyclist. Shocked, she immediately gets out of her car to see if he is okay. Fortunately he is alright, but he had fallen off his bike onto the hard pavement. He thinks he's suffered from a fracture and is taken to the hospital to be checked out. Samantha risks facing charges of Careless Driving, Vehicular Assault and Reckless Driving.”

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Careless Driving, Reckless Driving and Vehicular Assault in Jefferson County

In Jefferson County, Samantha could face charges of Careless Driving, C.R.S. 42-4-1402. She was driving in a careless and imprudent manner, without regard for the conditions of the road, traffic, use of the streets / highways and all other attendant circumstances. Reckless Driving, C.R.S. 42-4-1401, charges could be filed because she was driving in a “manner that indicated either a wanton or a willful disregard for the safety of persons or property”. Yet, I don't think she should face charges of Vehicular Assault. For instance, under the statute for Vehicular Assault, C.R.S. 18-3-205, the operation or driving of a motor vehicle in a reckless manner would have to cause serious bodily injury to another person. The definition of serious bodily injury, under C.R.S. 18-1-901(p) is:

“bodily injury which, either at the time of the actual injury or at a later time, involves a substantial risk of death, a substantial risk of serious permanent disfigurement, a substantial risk of protracted loss or impairment of the function of any part or organ of the body, or breaks, fractures, or burns of the second or third degree.”

In Samantha's case, the doctors said the man she hit suffered hip and shoulder pain. But, the man was worried he couldn't ride his bike the same way because of those injuries. Police claimed his injuries involved a “substantial risk of impairment of the function of any part or organ of the body” under C.R.S. 18-1-901(p) for serious bodily injury. Their interpretation is a stretch of the law. Other ways Samantha could be charged with Vehicular Assault include if the cyclist had a break, fracture, or permanent scarring from the collision and fall.

If you're facing multiple traffic crime charges,

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Overcharged Traffic Crimes in Denver

While I understand how evidence from Samantha's case could be misinterpreted to file charges, I think charging her with Vehicular Assault is unfair. I would argue that the man's injuries included physical pain, which falls under bodily injury and not serious bodily injury. In this case, Samantha should face charges of Careless Driving instead of Vehicular Assault. The statute for Careless Driving says that it's a class 1 misdemeanor traffic offense if someone:

“drives a motor vehicle, bicycle, electrical assisted bicycle, or low-power scooter in a careless and imprudent manner, without due regard for the width, grade, curves, corners, traffic, and use of the streets and highways and all other attendant circumstances, and the person's actions cause bodily injury to another person.”

Contact the Best Denver Criminal Defense Lawyers if You've Been Overcharged

People overcharged with traffic crimes who don't understand the law may face unfair consequences. Don't give in to the pressure of district attorneys who overcharge crimes. Involve a criminal defense lawyer in your case who knows criminal law and the justice system well. Contact one of our aggressive traffic attorneys today if facing multiple traffic crime charges.

Get Help Now

If the police contact you about charges of Reckless Driving, Vehicular Assault, Careless Driving or any other traffic crime, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and contact the best criminal defense traffic attorneys at the O'Malley Law Office at 303-830-0880 for a free consultation. Together, we can protect your future.Request a Free Consultation

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Image Credit: Pixabay – geralt, Pixabay – Unsplash

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If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges in the Denver area, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and contact the best criminal defense lawyers at O’Malley and Sawyer, LLC at 303-830-0880. Together, we can protect your future. Request a Free Consultation

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