Vehicles can be deadly weapons. Millions of people are injured by motor vehicles and many lawsuits focus primarily on personal injury.
There may be some cases where a car accident turns into a criminal prosecution. The switch from a personal injury case to criminal prosecution is a subtle one and can have dramatic consequences, including hefty fines and years of prison. But how does this happen? What can be done in defense?
When it comes to determining whether an incident was an accident or an assault, intention is the leading factor. If a court of law determines an individual intended to cause either personal injury or death of another individual and does so with compelling evidence, the individual will be convicted of a much higher crime than personal injury and will be subject to harsher penalties.
Escalated charges will only stick if there is compelling evidence behind intent. An assault charge can stem from a verbal threat of violence or an actual violent act. An individual convicted of such charges may be branded as a felon suffering years of imprisonment and permanent damage to reputation and job stability.
If the court can be convinced that the circumstances surrounding the accident did not stem from a threat of violence or the intent to do serios harm or cause death, the defendant may be spared these harsh criminal punishments.
In most automobile incidents, the charges will be less severe and will only amount to a personal injury lawsuit. Criminal charges can be more difficult to prove, and many individuals may elect the easier path of suing for financial compensation resulting from an accident. While no option is a good option, individuals involved in a car accident have a much better chance at overcoming an accident if criminal charges are not involved.