In the most basic terms, a Washington State vehicular assault is hurting another person while driving under the influence or driving recklessly. RCW 46.61.522 states that:
(1) A person is guilty of vehicular assault if he or she operates or drives any vehicle:
(a) In a reckless manner and causes substantial bodily harm to another; or
(b) While under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug, as defined by RCW 46.61.502, and causes substantial bodily harm to another; or
(c) With disregard for the safety of others and causes substantial bodily harm to another.
Washington State vehicular assault is a class B felony and can result in a prison sentence in addition to many harsh probation conditions and a drivers license suspension. Minimum prison sentences start at 3-9 months and grow longer depending upon one’s prior criminal history and other concurrent criminal charges. Additional penalties include a license suspension, alcohol/drug treatment, ignition interlock, and fines.
Most Washington State vehicular assault cases arise from driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Washington State vehicular assault is a little different than a DUI in that, if you are involved in a collision and police believe that you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they can take you to the hospital and draw your blood, whether you agree or not. In a DUI case, most of the time you have the right to refuse the test, but in a Washington State vehicular assault investigation, you do not.
If you find yourself in an accident and injuries are involved, whether it is in another vehicle or your own, and police are investigating you for DUI, you need to speak with an attorney immediately. A Washington State vehicular assault charge is much more serious than a DUI and can change your life forever. Getting an attorney involved early can make a big difference for you and your case.
Similar to a DUI, your best defense is often to challenge the results of the blood test. That means scrutinizing how the blood was drawn, how it was handled, the testing process itself, as well as the results. Make sure that your attorney is well aware of the laws surrounding the blood test and is well versed in its intricacies. Of course, there are other defenses to explore. Sometimes that means visiting the crime scene, hiring investigators and experts, and reenacting the events that led up to the incident.