Aggravated Assault and DUI Charged in Adams Morgan Crash

by Jamison Koehler on September 9, 2010

Photo by James Calder (

The woman who ran into two pedestrians before her car crashed into an Adams Morgan restaurant last night has, according to the Washington Post, been charged with aggravated assault as well as driving under the influence. Both pedestrians hit by the car are still hospitalized, one in serious condition and the other in critical condition.

While one might normally think of aggravated assault as an intentional act to seriously injure another person, the D.C. statute includes the causing of serious bodily injury to another person “[u]nder circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life.”  The government is obviously prepared to argue that 23-year-old Chamica Adams exhibited such extreme indifference when she got behind the wheel of the car while intoxicated.

3 Comments on “Aggravated Assault and DUI Charged in Adams Morgan Crash

  1. Oh Jamison, you big tease – what’s your opinion of this charge, under these circumstances?
    In Texas we have a charge of “intoxication assault,” a third degree felony (2-10 years). Do you have something similar? If so, did they go for agg assault just to up the penalty range?

  2. I have never heard of anything like “intoxication assault” per se. The prosecution clearly charged aggravated assault in this case because of: (1) the two people who were seriously injured, (2) the damage to the restaurant, and (3) the extensive news coverage the case has received. And, yes, of course it was to increase the penalty! Isn’t that what you guys do? 🙂

    But I have a question for you. Presumably, the aggravated assault charge was based on the government’s assumption that, by getting behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated, Ms. Adams was showing “extreme indifference to human life.” It turns out that her blood alcohol concentration was nearly twice the legal limit. Why doesn’t the government charge ATTEMPTED aggravated assault every time a person is arrested for DWI/DUI with a BAC at that level? Wouldn’t you be exhibiting the same disregard for human life whether or not you actually got into an accident and hurt someone?

    I’m not necessarily saying they should. I’m just saying there should be some logic and consistency in the way they choose which charges to bring.

  3. We have another case in our city in which nightclub employees have been charged with aggravated assault. In that case, the victim died. I read the charges were reduced from second-degree murder. I am curious about the threshold dividing these two charges.

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