A person commits the crime of vehicular assault if he “substantially injures” someone by means of either:

  1. Reckless driving, or
  2. Driving under the influence (DUI).

Let’s define a few terms for better understanding:

  • Reckless driving” means that a driver operates his vehicle with disregard for the safety of others.
  • A “substantial injury” (also known as “substantial bodily harm”) is a temporary but substantial disfigurement or impairment of any body part. It also includes the fracture of any body part.

In addition, “driving under the influence” means that a motorist:

  • Is impaired by drugs or alcohol to the point that his ability to drive a car is lessened in any appreciable degree;
  • Has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher; or,
  • Has a concentration of five nanograms or more of THC per milliliter of blood.

A conviction of vehicular assault is a Class B felony in Washington. The crime is punishable by:

  • Up to 10 years in prison, and/or
  • A maximum fine of $20,000.


Vehicular homicide is similar to vehicular assault. The main difference is that where an assault charge involves substantially injuring a victim, a homicide charge involves causing the death to the victim.

A prosecutor must prove the following in order to successfully convict a driver of vehicular homicide:

  1. The defendant driver caused the death of another person, and
  2. He did so by either driving recklessly or by driving under the influence.

Vehicular homicide is a class A felony under Washington law. The offense is punishable by:

  • Up to life in prison, and/or
  • A maximum fine of $50,000.


Luckily, a person accused of either of these crimes can raise a legal defense to challenge the accusation. A good defense can work to reduce or even dismiss a charge. While the facts of a case will determine the best legal defense, some common defenses to these crimes are:

  • The defendant was falsely accused;
  • The prosecutor cannot prove every element of the crime charged; and,
  • The defendant was arrested after an unlawful search or seizure.

Please note, though, that it will take a skilled and talented criminal defense attorney to raise the most successful defense on your behalf. The attorneys at Black Law have the knowledge and experience that makes all the difference. They know the law regarding vehicular assault and homicide, and they fight for all their clients with zest and passion. The two offenses described above demand the help of a criminal lawyer. Contact our office today and get the real help that you deserve.

We serve clients throughout Washington including those in the following localities: King County including Bellevue, Kent, and Seattle; Benton County including Kennewick; Chelan County including Wenatchee; Clallam County including Port Angeles; Grays Harbor County including Aberdeen; Kitsap County including Port Orchard; Kittitas County including Ellensburg; Pierce County including Tacoma; Skagit County including Mount Vernon; Snohomish County including Everett; Spokane County including Spokane; Thurston County including Olympia; Whatcom County including Bellingham; and Yakima County including Yakima.

CONTACT US NOW...(206) 623-1604

Black Law PLLC