Under Washington law, vehicular homicide while intoxicated is the crime where you kill someone while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The offense is charged as a serious felony and a conviction can lead to a life behind bars. Please contact a skilled criminal defense attorney now if you are facing any type of homicide charge.

What is Vehicular Homicide While Intoxicated Under Washington Law?

RCW 46.61.520 is the Washington statute that sets forth the crime of vehicular homicide while intoxicated. Per this law, you are guilty of a crime if you:

  1. Operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, and
  2. Kill someone in doing so, or injure someone and the person dies because of the injury within three years of the date of the incident.

Please note that “driving under the influence” in Washington means that you drive a vehicle while you:

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

What are the Penalties?

Vehicular homicide while intoxicated is a Class A felony. The crime is punishable by:

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

A Class A felony is the most severe crime that a person can commit in Washington State.

Can a Defendant Raise a Legal Defense?

Yes. You have the right to challenge a vehicular homicide while intoxicated charge with a legal defense. Recall that you are only guilty of this crime if you kill or injury someone while driving a car while intoxicated. Further, “intoxicated” has a precise legal definition under Washington law. Therefore, you can always challenge a charge by showing that you were not intoxicated at the time of the incident.

Your criminal defense attorney can also help you contest a charge by showing that the police somehow violated your rights. Here, depending on the facts of your case, your lawyer may be able to show that the police:

  • Arrested you without probable cause,
  • Coerced a confession, or
  • Conducted an unlawful search and seizure.

If any of these are true, your defense attorney can move the court to reduce your charge or drop it altogether.

Contact Black & Askerov for Help

While a defendant can raise a legal defense to challenge a homicide charge, it will take a skilled criminal defense attorney to raise the best defense. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Black & Askerov have over 30 years of combined experience defending clients on various felony charges. Our Seattle criminal defense lawyers also have the skill and commitment that makes all the difference in these cases. Contact us now to get the legal help you deserve!

* Main image at top by lyashenko on Freepik