What is Vehicular Aggravated Assault?

by Aaron Black • January 29, 2012

In Phoenix, and in Arizona, Vehicular Aggravated Assault can be committed in two different ways.

  1. Intentionally, knowingly of recklessly serious physical injury or substantial disfigurement to another
  2. Using a deadly weapon dangerous instrument to intentionally place someone in imminent fear of serious physical injury

ARS 13-1204 

The most common way for Vehicular Aggravated Assault to be charged is when someone is drunk, high, or speeding and they injure someone in an auto accident. If this occurs, the prosecution must prove that the defendant was DUI or Speeding. DUI and Speeding are both considered "reckless" in Arizona.

Defenses to Vehicular Aggravated Assault

In order to prove Aggravated Assault, the prosecutor must show that the defendant's actions were reckless. "Recklessly" means: with respect to a result or to a circumstance described by a statute defining an offense, that a person is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the result will occur or that the circumstance exists. The risk must be of such nature and degree that disregard of such risk constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation. A person who creates such a risk but who is unaware of such risk solely by reason of voluntary intoxication also acts recklessly with respect to such risk. ARS 13-105 (10)(c). This means the prosecutor will try to prove "reckless" conduct by showing the defendant was drunk (DUI), speeding, or high. It is the defense attorney's goal;, through investigation, to show there was no DUI and someone else caused the accident.

As discussed, in some circumstances, the prosecutor alleges the reckless behavior is due to being impaired by alcohol (DUI). There are numerous defenses to DUI Aggravated Assault, including:

  • being below the legal limit
  • not impaired
  • illegal blood draw
  • no probable cause to arrest

Please read What are the Defenses to DUI in Arizona to learn more.

There are many other defenses to Vehicular Aggravated Assault. Often, the auto accident was caused by the other person. If the other party violates the law by making an illegal turn, speeding, etc., there may be a defense to Aggravated Assault.

Punishment for Aggravated Assault

Aggravated Assault, where there is a DUI and an auto accident that caused a serious physical injury, is a class 3 Dangerous Felony. If convicted, the charge carries a mandatory five (5) to fifteen (15) years in prison. If the victim is under fifteen (15) years old the Aggravated Assault will be charged as a class 2 Dangerous Felony and carry a mandatory prison sentence of seven (7) to twenty-one (21) years in prison.

If you have been charged with Vehicular Aggravated Assault based on reckless conduct due to a DUI, contact an experienced Phoenix DUI Lawyer immediately. Aaron Black is a 2012 Southwest Super Lawyers Rising Star in Criminal:DUI Defense. Aaron Black has defended numerous Vehicular Aggravated Assault cases with many being dismissed prior to trial or the charges were significantly reduced to probation.

Call Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney Aaron Black for a free consultation: 48-0-729-1683


In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, I wanted to inform clients and potential clients I am still available for consultations. I am always available by phone, text and/or email. We can also use Facetime for social distancing. The criminal justice system is not stopping due to COVID-19.

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