Washington State Vehicular Manslaughter DUI
by Lewis & Laws
Washington State Vehicular Manslaughter DUI
While not every state in the United States has a specific statute which allows vehicular manslaughter charges to be brought against anyone who kills another person while driving under the influence, the state of Washington does.
Vehicular manslaughter in Washington is a Class A felony, with severe penalties. Under Washington’s statute, if the death of a person occurs within three years as the result of an injury caused by a driver who was driving while under the influence, driving in a reckless manner or driving with disregard for the safety of others, then the driver who caused the injury may be charged with vehicular manslaughter.
Washington Increases Sentencing Requirements
While the state of Washington once had fairly low sentencing requirements for the crime of vehicular homicide, in 2012 the sentencing grid was altered for this offense. The sentencing range for a conviction of vehicular homicide in the state of Washington is now between six-and-a-half years and eight-and-a-half years. Other states typically have prison sentences from 3-10 years for vehicular manslaughter although the fines for the offense can vary tremendously.
One Significant Difference Between DUI and Vehicular Manslaughter DUI
Most vehicular manslaughter charges are the result of a person driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, rather than reckless driving. There is one major difference between simply being arrested on DUI charges and being arrested for vehicular manslaughter DUI. Most of the time, in a “simple” DUI, you have the right to refuse a blood test. If you are suspected of vehicular manslaughter, however, your blood can be taken whether you agree or not.
Additional Consequences of DUI Vehicular Manslaughter
In addition to fines and possible time behind bars, there are other serious consequences of a DUI vehicular manslaughter conviction:
- Your license will be suspended for two years (the revocation period will be tolled during any period of confinement for the offense)
- You may find it difficult—if not impossible—to ever get vehicle insurance again
- You may be sentenced to some type of alcohol treatment program
- You could be sentenced to community service
- You could lose your job and/or find it very difficult to obtain employment in the future
- You could jeopardize a professional license
- You could have travel restrictions imposed
Getting Legal Help Can Alter the Outcome of Your Charges
There are a wide variety of state penalties as well as other consequences for a conviction of DUI vehicular manslaughter. The state of Washington aggressively prosecutes those who drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, causing the death of another person.
If you are facing such charges, it is imperative that you speak to an experienced Washington DUI criminal defense attorney. While every situation is different, there may be specific defenses which can be used on your behalf. Leaving charges like this to chance almost guarantees you will end up with the most severe penalties and deciding to plead guilty “just to have it over and done with,” is equally risky.
While it is understandable that you would want the issue to be over, having a knowledgeable Washington DUI criminal defense attorney by your side can truly alter the outcome of your charges, perhaps even making it possible for you to continue to work and drive, while engaging in some type of alcohol treatment.
In truth, you simply cannot know just how severe your penalties will be—or how much difference having strong legal representation can make—until you have discussed your case with an attorney. Do not wait—contact a DUI attorney immediately following your charges, or even if you think you might be charged. The sooner your attorney can begin protecting your rights and defending you, the better your future looks.
Have you or someone you love been arrested and charged with Vehicular Manslaughter DUI? Contact the Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers at Lewis & Laws.
If you have been charged with vehicular manslaughter in Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Everett, or anywhere in the state of Washington, the expert defense team at Lewis & Laws, PLLC will fight aggressively for you and your future. Our lawyers have successfully defended clients in Seattle, Bellevue, and Kirkland. Contact us today at 206.209.0608 or fill out our online contact form to get more information or to get a free case review!