Philadelphia Criminal Law News

Michael Donahue Trial Continues This Week

Aggravated assault can come in many forms. That’s what former Delaware County Assistant District Attorney is learning this week, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer, as his DUI trial unfolds.

While simple DUI is the work of a skilled DUI lawyer, Donahue is facing a straightforward criminal trial where his attorneys have the difficult job of showing the jury that he cannot be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt for the injuries suffered by Joseph Vantrieste.

Vantrieste was injured as he was skateboarding at night. He collided with Donahue's SUV as Donahue was on his way home after a night of drinking with coworkers, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Now, to add to the mess, it turns out Donahue was on his cell phone at the time of the crash.

The accident resulted in grave injuries. The young skateboarder was not only left with several broken bones, but also bleeding in the brain. As a result, he missed three months of school.

And Donahue fled the scene, to make matters even worse.

A former pub waitress testified that Donahue racked up a rather large tab on the night of the accident.

Among the DUI related charges, Donahue faces charges of aggravated assault. Aggravated assault is a notch more serious that garden-variety assault. It usually involves aggravating factors, such as the use of a weapon, intent of the suspect and the degree of injury caused.

While intent can play a role in an assault case, reckless indifference to human life can satisfy the intent element of a crime. And driving drunk, as well as using a cell phone while driving, can both show recklessness.

The case isn't over yet. And one can only assume that once the criminal case closes, another personal injury case may open.

Related Resources: