A large percentage of accidents in the state of Washington are caused by or involve a someone driving under the influence (DUI). These accidents can result in injuries not only to the drunk driver, but also others. In some cases, one or more people are killed in a drunk driving accident. In addition to any personal injury action that may be brought against the drunk driver, he or she is likely to be charged with an accident DUI. If you are charged in connection with an accident DUI, it is advisable to secure legal counsel and representation from a skillful, experienced Seattle DUI attorney. At Blair & Kim, we may be able to help you assess your legal options and potential defenses.Accident DUI
You can be convicted of driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor, marijuana or a drug if you drive a car within the state and your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08% or higher as shown by an analysis of your breath or blood under Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 46.61.506. In Seattle, you can face DUI charges if you operate a motor vehicle and (1) your ability to drive is lessened in any appreciable degree as a result of ingesting alcohol or drugs, (2) you have a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or more, or (3) you have a concentration of 5 or more nanograms of THC, which is the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana per milliliter of your blood.
A DUI is usually a gross misdemeanor. However, it is charged as a class B felony that can be punished under chapter 9.94A if you’re an adult or chapter 13.40 if you’re a juvenile under certain circumstances. It can be charged under RCW 46.61.520(1)(a) as a felony if you’ve previously been convicted of vehicular homicide while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It can also be charged as a felony if you’ve previously been convicted under RCW 46.61.522(1)(b) of vehicular assault while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Washington imposes serious penalties for driving under the influence. These penalties are made more severe when there are aggravating factors, such as an accident. A knowledgeable DUI lawyer can help you navigate charges of this nature.Accident DUI Causing Bodily Harm
In Washington, you can be charged with vehicular assault under RCW 46.61.522 if you operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and a resulting accident causes substantial bodily harm to somebody. Vehicular assault can be charged as a class B felony. That means you could be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. You may spend time in jail, face heavy fines, have your license suspended, have your license revoked, face a felony record, lose your right to vote, face mandatory drug or alcohol treatment, and serve probation.Accidents Causing Death
Under RCW 46.61.52, a driver may be charged with vehicular homicide if somebody dies due to negligent operation of a vehicle or succumbs to injuries within 3 years of the accident and the driver was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The penalties for a vehicular homicide conviction depend on whether you were under the influence of intoxicants. If you’re convicted of vehicular homicide while driving under the influence, you can be sentenced to between78 and 102 months.Warrantless Blood Draw
You should be aware that if you injure someone in an accident DUI and pass out, your blood may be drawn without a warrant. Generally, consent or a warrant is needed to draw your blood, but there is an exigent circumstances exception. In situations where acquiring a warrant isn’t realistic because of the delay that would occur in getting the warrant such that an officer’s safety would be impacted, there would be the possibility of escape, or there would be destruction of evidence, a warrant might not be required.Consult a Skillful Accident DUI Attorney in Seattle
An accident DUI can result in very serious charges and penalties. If you are charged in connection with an accident DUI in Seattle, an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands not only the penalties, but also the collateral consequences of a conviction and understands what strategies are most likely to be successful in fighting the charges, may be able to help. We represent people in Kings County, Bellevue, Kirkland and Redmond. Call us at (206) 622-6562 or contact us via our online form.