Were you in a car accident and someone tragically passed away? Our Seattle vehicular homicide lawyers are here to protect your rights and defend you against overly aggressive prosecutors. Car accidents happen every day, and a small mistake behind the wheel, no matter the result, does not mean you belong in prison. Unfortunately, the family and the district attorney may feel differently. Depending on the situation, following a car accident, you could be accused of vehicular homicide. This is a serious felony, which can lead to years in prison.
When facing criminal accusations after a car crash, you should contact our vehicular homicide lawyers at Emerald City Law Group. Our team of Seattle criminal defense attorneys understand how frustrating and frightening it can be to face criminal charges after an accident.
Washington’s Vehicular Homicide Law
Homicide laws in Washington also encompass deaths brought about by the use of a vehicle. When you can be charged with vehicular homicide and the level of the charge is outlined in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 46.61.520. You can be charged with vehicular homicide if you cause the death of a person by driving a vehicle if you were operating the vehicle:
- While under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination;
- In a reckless manner; or
- With a disregard for the safety of others.
The statute also states that you can be charged if the person passes away within three years of the accident if the death is a proximate result of any injuries they sustained.
It is also important to note that you can be charged with vehicular homicide for each deceased person. If you struck another vehicle and both the driver and a passenger passed away, then you may face two counts of vehicular homicide.
Charges and Penalties for Vehicular Homicide in Washington
If you are accused of causing another person’s death through the use of a vehicle, then you will be charged with a Class A felony. If convicted, you can be confined in state prison for up to life without the option for parole. You can also be fined up to $50,000.
However, not everyone charged with vehicular homicide faces life in prison. You should speak with our vehicular homicide attorneys at Emerald City Law Group about the sanctions you realistically face. The potential sanctions depend on the type of vehicular homicide you are accused of committing, your criminal history, and other factors.
Whether you are accused of being reckless, disregarding others safety, or drunk driving matters a great deal because it dictates the Seriousness Level of the offense. Though vehicular homicide is always a Class A felony, it may be Seriousness Level VII or XI, which influences the potential minimum and maximum penalty you face.
Also, your Offender Score matters. The Washington Sentencing Guidelines require inputting information regarding your criminal history into a worksheet to determine your offender score. The higher your score, the higher the potential penalty.
If you have no criminal history, then for a vehicle homicide related to a disregard for others’ safety (Level VII), you face between 15 and 20 months in custody. If you have an extensive criminal history, you may face upwards of 116 months in prison. For vehicle homicide in a reckless manner or related to intoxicated driving, you could face a minimum of 78 to 102 months in prison and a maximum of 280 months.
Let Our Vehicular Homicide Lawyers Defend You
When you are facing a Class A felony for vehicular homicide, you should have a skilled criminal defense lawyer by your side. Your greatest chance of having the charges reduced, exonerating yourself in court, or receiving a minimal penalty is having an aggressive lawyer defend you in court.
To begin with, one of our Seattle criminal defense attorneys will carefully review your case. We will thoroughly investigate the incident that led to the charges against you. We will use the evidence we gather to determine the best course of action.
Depending on the facts, we may have a strong stance for negotiating the charges down. We may be able to have vehicular homicide related to reckless driving reduced to vehicular homicide with disregard for others’ safety. Or, we may be able to have the charges reduced to vehicular assault or reckless driving. If we can get the prosecutor to reduce the charges, the maximum penalty you face is greatly decreased.
Next, we will prepare to defend you in court or to negotiate a beneficial plea agreement with the prosecutor. If the likelihood of an acquittal is low, you may want to pursue a plea arrangement, so long as the prosecutor’s terms are fair and minimize the sanctions against you. Whether or not you accept a plea offered by a prosecutor is up to you. If you wish to go to trial, or we cannot negotiate a fair plea, then one of our vehicular homicide lawyers will build the strongest defense possible under the law.
There are numerous defenses we may utilize, including that you were not driving drunk recklessly, or in a manner that demonstrated a disregard or safety. We may seek to prove that while you may have been careless at the time, you were not criminally negligent. We may also seek to demonstrate in court that the prosecution lacks enough evidence to prove you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
Contact a Seattle Vehicular Homicide Lawyer Today
When you are being investigated for a crime or following your arrest, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Our Seattle vehicular homicide attorneys at Emerald City Law Group have handled numerous vehicular homicide cases. We will guide you through this experience with compassion while fighting for the best possible outcome in your situation.
To learn more about the charges against you and how we can help, contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
A Seattle Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help
No matter the charges or accusations – You deserve an aggressive defense.
When people are ill-prepared for the criminal justice system or take their situation too lightly, the consequences are often dire and in most cases, permanent. By working with a King County criminal defense lawyer from Emerald City Law Group, you can rely on a personalized and proactive approach to your case, so every issue is addressed and you obtain the best possible outcome.
If you have been charged with a crime in or around King County, Washington, Emerald City Law Group should be your next call. 206-973-0407