Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious offense in New Jersey and it is even more problematic if someone gets hurt. If a person is injured or killed because of a drunk driver, that driver will be charged with assault by auto, which is an extremely serious criminal charge. An arrest for assault by auto should be handled properly from the get-go. No one understands this better than our experienced New Jersey DWI attorneys. We will meticulously examine the facts of your case and help defend your rights at every stage of the legal process.
A 19-year-old MIT student, who was home in New Jersey for the summer, was recently killed in a head-on crash caused by a suspected drunk driver in Old Bridge. The teen, who was offered a full scholarship to both MIT and Yale University, had her promising future tragically cut short when the other driver traversed the double yellow lines at a high rate of speed and slammed into the her vehicle head-on. The MIT student was behind the wheel and her 15-year-old sister was in the car as a passenger at the time of the accident. Both of them were rushed to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, where the older sister was pronounced dead. The passenger survived and was treated for her injuries. According to officials, the suspected drunk driver attempted to walk away from the scene of the crash but was apprehended by police while doing so. He now faces multiple charges including vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of an accident, assault by auto and DWI.
New Jersey law has specific provisions for assault cases involving automobiles. A person is typically charged with assault by auto when his or her reckless driving causes injury to another person. For behavior to be deemed ‘reckless,’ it must involve actions that show an extreme indifference to the welfare of others. Examples of reckless conduct include excessive speeding, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, or refusing to submit to a breath test. If an assault by auto charge involves driving under the influence of alcohol, the charge is much more serious. If an assault by auto case causes “serious bodily injury” to another person due to a DWI accident, the charge is a Third Degree criminal offense. In such cases, the defendant faces 5 to 10 years in jail.