Vehicular Homicide In WA State 46.61.520
Each year, approximately 250 people are killed by drunk drivers in the state of Washington alone. In an effort to reduce these deadly numbers, lawmakers have begun cracking down on drunk drivers, passing tougher and tougher DUI laws with each passing year. Under these laws, any person who is involved in alcohol-related traffic fatality could be charged with vehicular homicide. As a Class A felony, a Washington State vehicular homicide charge carries a number of harsh penalties, particularly if you are charged with driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug—an offense outlined in Statute 46.61.520.
Vehicular homicide is defined as a death caused by any type of motor vehicle, including a car, SUV, taxi, motorcycle, truck, or bus. Under state law, any death that occurs within three years after an auto accident can be considered vehicular homicide if the accident was caused by another driver’s negligence.
Penalties For Vehicular Homicide
Depending on the circumstances, the penalties for a vehicular homicide conviction may include up to a five-year jail sentence, as well as a $10,000 fine. However, in cases that involve alcohol, the sentencing guidelines are even harsher. Even if you have no prior criminal convictions on your record, you could spend anywhere from six to eight years behind bars if you are found guilty of DUI-related vehicular homicide—and repeat offenders could face an additional two-year sentence for each prior conviction.
As you can see, the penalties for vehicular homicide while under the influence of alcohol or drugs are quite severe. If you are convicted of the offense, you can expect to spend time in jail—and once you are released, your conviction will be permanently reflected on your criminal record. Along with jeopardizing countless future opportunities, a felony conviction will result in the loss of many personal liberties, including your right to vote, purchase firearms, and travel outside of the country.
Fortunately, being charged with vehicular homicide does not mean that you will be convicted of the offense in court. As with any other criminal offense, the state must first prove you are guilty of the charges against you beyond a reasonable doubt—and with the right defense strategy, that can be an extremely difficult task.
Consult With A Lawyer About Your Defense
If you are facing vehicular homicide charges, it is important to obtain legal representation—especially if your case involves driving under the influence. To discuss your case with one of the most experienced DUI defense attorneys in the area, contact Callahan Law today. As author of The Washington DUI Practice Manual and A Citizen's Handbook on Fighting a Drunk Driving Case, attorney Linda M. Callahan and her team are well-versed in ways to challenge a DUI-related vehicular homicide charge.
Protect your rights and ensure you receive the best possible outcome to your case. Submit your information online today for a free, no-obligation consultation with Callahan Law.
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