Felony DUI

Normally DUI is not a felony. However, under certain circumstances a DUI charge is a class A felony. There are certain prerequisites in order for of a DUI to become a felony charge.

Felony DUI Circumstances

Other methods of Felony DUI come about by death or injury to another.

Vehicular Homicide (RCW 46.61.520)

Vehicular homicide is among the most serious of crimes and as a result, it is class A felony. The statute criminalizes vehicular homicide in 3 different ways with the most common cause resulting from DUI. The statute states that when the death of any person, within three years, is a result of injury caused by the driving of any vehicle by any person, the driver is guilty of vehicular homicide if the driver was operating a motor vehicle:

  1. Under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug; or
  2. In a reckless manner; or
  3. With a disregard for the safety of others.

The range of punishment for vehicular homicide is largely determined by the driver's "prior" history and the circumstances leading up to the death of another person. A mandatory two years is added to each prior offense, if any, when vehicular homicide is committed by a driver who is DUI, punctuating the seriousness of the offense.

As vehicular homicide is among the most serious of alcohol related crimes, consent is not needed for a breath test or blood draw. As a result, the review of blood evidence requires a keen eye of an experienced DUI attorney and a dedicated defense team.

Vehicular Assault (RCW 46.61.522)

Much like the more serious crime of vehicular homicide, vehicular assault also criminalizes behavior under 3 different scenarios. The statute states that a person commits vehicular assault when s/he operates or drives a motor vehicle:

  1. In a reckless manner and causes substantial bodily harm to another; or
  2. While under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug, and causes substantial bodily harm to another; or
  3. With a disregard for the safety of others and causes substantial bodily harm to another.

"Substantial bodily harm" means bodily injury which involves a temporary but substantial disfigurement, or which causes a temporary but substantial loss or impairment of the function of any bodily part or organ, or which causes a fracture of any bodily part.

Since death is not a result, yet there is serious bodily harm to another, vehicular assault is a class B felony. Serious bodily injury can be something as minor as a large bruise (temporary disfigurement), damage to internal organs (impairment to function of any body part), or even a broken finger or leg.

Like vehicular homicide, vehicular assault is among the most serious of alcohol related crimes and consent is not needed for a breath test or blood draw. As a result, the review of blood evidence requires a keen eye of an experienced DUI attorney and a dedicated defense team.

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“Being charged with a DUI is scary and often makes you feel alone against the unknown. Jonathan made himself available after hours to have a 'consultation' of sorts, to meet with me and hear my story, at no cost or commitment.”
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