King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg along with Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Lindquist and state Representative Christopher Hurst, D-Enumclaw, are supporting changes to existing Washington state DUI laws to increase the penalties for Vehicular Homicide and Vehicular Assault.
Citing drunk driving accident statistics, Satterberg noted that 170 people were killed by impaired drivers in Washington state in 2010 compared with 154 people killed by murder.
Vehicular Homicide, vehicle code RCW 46.61.520, provides that a driver can be charged if a person dies within three years of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident and the driver was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving recklessly or driving without regard to the safety of others.
Vehicular Assault, vehicle code RCW 46.61.522, provides that a driver can be charged if a person is seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident and the driver was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving recklessly or driving without regard to the safety of others.
Examples of driving recklessly include speeding, racing or aggressive driving. Examples of driving without regard to the safety of others include engaging in unsafe behavior even though the driver knows it is unsafe including texting while driving, talking no a cell phone or other distracted behaviors.
Currently the penalty for Vehicular Homicide, DUI, is between 2-½ to 3-1/2 years in prison. The new bill proposes that the penalty be increased to 6- 8-½ years.
The proposed change to Vehicular Assault would increase the current from 3 to 9 months to 6 months to 1 year.
Satterberg believes that current penalties for drivers who kill are not sufficient because these are preventable deaths. He said that when defendants get time off for good behavior their prison sentence can be reduced by a third.
Legal Recourse for Victims of Drunk Drivers
The Farber Law Group provides legal representation for people who have been disabled or injured in a drunk driving accident in Washington state.
A motor vehicle accident involving a drunken driver are different that other accidents because it is a preventable one. If only the driver would have called a cab, waited a few hours or stayed put, a drunk driving accident could have been prevented.
Washington Drunk Driving Accident Claims
If you have been seriously injured by a drunk driver or a loved one killed, your life has changed in a split second. Some people are left with catastrophic injuries which cause a life time of pain or leave them disabled. Other times, a loved one has died and that person may have been the bread winner for the family or a promising young student.
The Farber Law Group is here to answer your questions about Washington drunk driving accidents and we will fight to obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries, medical costs, lost wages and for pain and suffering.
If you or a loved one has been injured, disabled or killed in a Washington drunk driving accident, call us TOLL FREE at 1-800-244-9087. We provide a FREE CASE CONSULTATION.
Source: Prosecutors propose stiffer DUI sentences, The Seattle Times, by Sara Jean Green, January 9, 2012.
Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. We have offices in Bellevue to assist you.