Vancouver, WA Vehicular Homicide and Assault Defense Lawyers
Aggressive representation for Washington drivers accused of causing a death or serious bodily injury
A charge of vehicular homicide is a very serious matter. If convicted, you could be confined to jail for a long time and have to pay huge fines. On release from jail, you could find it hard to find work or a place to live. If you’re married, your family situation could deteriorate. Plus, you have to live with the knowledge that your driving took a life or seriously harmed someone.
At Philbrook Law Office, PS, many of the vehicular homicides cases we handle are based on drunk driving charges. We use the many of same defenses in DUI cases to help defeat these more serious charges. This also include motions to suppress evidence obtained in violation of your constitutional rights or if the chain of custody of the tests was broken. Contact our Vancouver, WA criminal defense lawyers without delay to get started on your case.
What is vehicular homicide?
Washington defines vehicular homicide as when a driver proximately causes the death of any person within three years of the date of the of the accident:
- While under the influence of a drug or intoxicating liquor
- In a reckless manner
- Without regard for the safety of others
Vehicular homicide is a class A felony. Penalties can include imprisonment for life and up to $50,000 in fines. Two additional years will be added if the conviction is due to a DUI.
What is vehicular assault?
Washington defines vehicular assault as when a driver operates a vehicle in a manner that:
- Recklessly causes another to suffer substantial bodily harm
- Causes substantial bodily harm while driving under the influence of drugs
- Causes substantial bodily harm with disregard for the safety of another
Vehicle assault is a class B felony. Penalties include up to 10 years in jail and up to $20,000 in fines.
"Substantial bodily harm" is defined in RCW 9A.04.110. Generally, a substantial injury means something akin to a fracture, a disfigurement, or worse.
What additional penalties apply for vehicular assault or homicide in WA?
Like DUI cases, penalties include more than time in prison and fines. Your license will be suspended. Your insurance premiums will skyrocket – if you can even obtain insurance. You’ll be required to use an interlock ignition device (IID) if you drive on a restricted license.
You may be sentenced to community service and/or an alcohol treatment program. Limitations may be imposed on your ability to travel. You also could lose any professional licenses.
What are potential defenses in a vehicular assault or homicide case?
In addition to contesting any field sobriety or chemical tests, the attorneys at Philbrook Law Office also assert the following defenses when possible:
- The prosecution can’t prove that you were the driver of the vehicle
- You didn’t drive recklessly under the circumstances
- You didn’t drive with careless disregard for the safety of others
- It wasn’t the accident that caused the person to die or suffer serious bodily injury
- The arrest was based on an illegal search or seizure
- The government failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt as to each element of the criminal charge
- Any other factual or legal defenses that apply to your case
We also fight to negotiate plea agreements. A common plea reduction is to agree to plead to a DUI charge if the vehicular assault or vehicle homicide charge is dropped.
Understanding the mindset of a jury in a vehicular homicide case
In the mind of a jury, driving with disregard for the safety of others or in a reckless manner is more than just negligence. It’s an open question which can vary depending on the jury or the judge assigned to your case. Some juries may think driving 5 or 10 mph over the speed limit on a highway is just negligence, but that driving 20 mph or more over the speed limit is criminal. Others may use different benchmarks. Many juries may think harming someone while texting while driving is wrong, while eating when you drive and having an accident is excusable.
Knowing how a jury could perceive your case is a critical component of building it. Our attorneys have years of experience in jury selection, and have successfully defended clients in felony offenses. You don’t have any time to lose, so call today so we can get started.
Contact our strong Vancouver, WA vehicular homicide defense lawyers today
Philbrook Law Office, we work quickly and aggressively to protect your rights, analyze your case, and argue every defense strategy possible. We have helped many criminal defendants obtain acquittals, have their case dismissed, or negotiate a just plea bargain. Our Vancouver, WA vehicular homicide attorneys work as a team to present your best defense. To schedule a consultation at one of our offices in Vancouver or Battle Ground, WA, please call 360-695-3309 or fill out our contact form. We also serve the greater Portland area and Oregon State.