Washington State Vehicle Law and Penalties for Killing Someone while Driving Intoxicated, Recklessly or Without Regard

Seattle Wrongful DeathAttorney

Every year in Washington State approximately 700 people are killed in motor vehicle accidents and in nearly 50% of the cases, alcohol consumption was a factor. Across the United States, the number tops 18,000 deaths due to drunken driving. Driving while intoxicated or driving recklessly is a felony crime and a person can be sentenced under the provisions of the Washington Sentencing Reform Act (SRA)

The state legislature has created legislature in attempt to penalize drivers who drive while intoxicated. Washington vehicle code RCW 46.61.52

“Vehicular Homicide”

provides that a driver can be charged with vehicular homicide if a person dies as a result of negligent operation of a vehicle or succumbs to their injuries within three years of an incident. The driver can be found guilty of vehicular homicide if he or she was:
  • Driving recklessly
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (In the State of Washington, a driver is under the influence of alcohol if the alcohol concentration in their blood is 0.08 or higher.)
  • Driving without regard for the safety of others

Penalties for Vehicular Homicide

The penalties for vehicular homicide vary depending on whether the convicted driver was under the influence of intoxicants:

  • A driver who is convicted of vehicular homicide while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs faces a sentencing range of 78-102 months.
  • A driver convicted of vehicular homicide while driving reckless faces a sentencing range of 51-68 months.
  • A driver convicted of vehicular homicide with disregard faces sentencing of 21-27 months.

Victims of Vehicular Homicide

In our law practice, we have seen the many faces of drunken and recklessly driving:

  • The 5 year old girl killed while walking with her mother home from school
  • The teens whose disabled car was rear-ended by a drunk driver on Interstate 5 in Seattle
  • The Google engineer who was killed when a man who had three times the legal limit of alcohol slammed into his SUV in Kirkland
  • Passengers in a car that went off the road and into a tree
  • The University of Washington graduate student and her boyfriend who were killed as they waited for a stop light when their car was hit from behind by a man who was driving recklessly.
  • The bicyclist killed when a drunken driver took a curve too fast

Wrongful Death Claims

When a driver is charged with Vehicular Homicide, he or she is tried by the State of Washington. In addition, the family of a person killed as a result of Vehicular Homicide can bring a suit for wrongful death on behalf of their deceased loved one. With the help of The Farber Law Group, a Washington law firm experienced and knowledgeable in handling auto accident cases and wrongful death, you may be able to recover damages for wrongful death.

Your Wrongful Death Claim is Important to Us :: Free Consultation

Herb Farber and the attorneys in the network of The Farber Law Group provide a FREE case consultation to families of those who have lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. We understand that the untimely and tragic loss of a loved one is a traumatic and live-changing event. We represent all of our clients with compassion and honestly and have more than 30 years experience.

For your Free and Confidential consultation, contact us today at 1-800-244-9087.

See also Vehicular Assault