The Washington state legislature passed HB 2216 which increases the penalties for people convicted of vehicular homicide and vehicular assault in Washington state when the driver was driving under the influence of alcohol.
A person can be convicted of vehicular homicide if a person dies within three years of a motor vehicle accident and the driver was driving recklessly, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or driving with out regard to the safety of others. A person can be convicted of vehicular assault if a person is seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident the driver was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol driving recklessly or driving with reckless disregard to the safety of others.
The bill, sponsored by Representatives Hurst, Pearson, Van De Wege, Dahlquist, Tharinger, Goodman, Johnson, Dammeier, Sells Kelley, McCune and Kristiansen, was passed unanimously by the Senate on Thursday
The legislature, with this bill, is sending a message to drivers: “If you drink and drive and injure or kill someone in a motor vehicle accident, then you are going to spend more time in jail.”
The sentencing ranges have been increased:
- Drivers convicted of vehicular homicide while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs – sentencing range increased from 31-41 months to 78-102 months.
- Drivers convicted of vehicular homicide while driving in a reckless manner – sentencing range increased from 21-27 months to 51-68 months.
- Drivers who are convicted of vehicular homicide for driving with reckless disregard for the safety – sentencing range increased from 15-20 months to 21-27 months.
- Drivers who are convicted of vehicular assault after a car accident in which a person was seriously injured and the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol will now have a sentencing range of 6-12 months.
Of the approximately 700 fatalmotor vehicle accidents in Washington state every year, almost 45% were alcohol-related.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or a loved one killed in a motor vehicle accident caused by a drunken driver, you should contact a personal injury attorney who will work to insure your rights are protected. At The Farber Law Group, we have more than 30 years experience represent people who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents and the family of those killed.