Vehicular Homicide / Vehicular Assault

bellevue-vehicular-assaultVehicular Homicide and Assault cases are tragic. They often involve allegations that the defendant was under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Even if intoxication is not an issue, the consequences are still high if the defendant drove in a reckless manner or expressed a wanton disregard for people’s lives. Many defendants face prison. For these reasons, it is absolutely critical to contact attorney Alexander Ransom as soon as possible.

Vehicular Homicide     RCW 46.61.520

When the death of any person happens as a proximate result of injury proximately caused by the driving of a vehicle, the driver is guilty of vehicular homicide if the driver was operating a motor vehicle (1) while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug; or (2) in a reckless manner; or (3) with disregard for the safety of others. Vehicular Homicide is a Class A felony punishable up to 25 years in prison and a $50,000.00 fine. Any prior convictions for alcohol-related Vehicular Homicides bring an additional two years to the sentence for each prior offense.

Vehicular Assault     RCW 46.61.522

A person is guilty of Vehicular Assault if he or she operates or drives any vehicle (1) in a reckless manner and causes substantial bodily harm to another; or (2) while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug and causes substantial bodily harm to another; or (3) with disregard for the safety of others or causes substantial bodily harm to another. Vehicular Assault is a Class B felony punishable up to 10 years prison and a $20,000.00 fine.

Additionally, Vehicular Assault can be charged as a strike offense.  In Washington, a person who is convicted of three strike offenses must be confined to prison for the rest of their lives, with no chance of early release or parole.

Additional Driving Consequences

The Department of Licensing (DOL) shall revoke the license or permit to drive of a person convicted of Vehicular Homicide or Vehicular Assault. The DOL shall determine the eligibility to receive a license based upon the report provided by the designated alcoholism treatment facility or probation department designated pursuant, and shall deny reinstatement until satisfactory progress in an approved program has been established and the person is otherwise qualified.

Defenses

Nowadays, police officers investigating these Vehicular Homicide and Assault cases must secure a search warrant when seeking to test a person’s blood for evidence of alcohol or drugs.  Prior to the United States Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Missouri v. McNeely, Washington law enforcement officers could forcibly take blood from anyone accused of Vehicular Assault or Vehicular Homicide.

However, In 2013 the United States Supreme Court decided forcible blood draws was no longer allowed, and required police officers to get search warrants for all blood tests unless they were consensual.  Fortunately, McNeely was supported by the WA Supreme Court’s State v. Martinez on the notion that search warrants must particularly state why obtained a blood sample is necessary.

Attorney Alexander Ransom has litigated many cases where police did not follow the proper protocol. The mistakes of law enforcement officers allowed Alexander to seek the suppression of blood test results. This has led to more favorable results for our clients.

If you or someone you care about faces Vehicular Homicide or Vehicular Assault crimes in Skagit County or Whatcom County, call attorney Alexander Ransom today for a free, no-pressure case evaluation. Alexander has a reputation in the legal community as an aggressive, effective and experienced criminal defense attorney. He is here to assist you through these difficult times.