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Vehicular Assault

If you are arrested for vehicular assault, it is a good idea to know what this means, the penalties you could be facing, and how to defend yourself from the life changing consequences that a felony conviction would bring.

Vehicular Assault Definition (RCW 46.61.522)

A felony vehicular assault charge in Washington State must meet the following definitions:

There must be a substantial injury to a person resulting from a motor vehicle accident. Any broken bone or significant internal bleeding would meet the definition of substantial. A small laceration, whiplash, or minor concussion would not normally meet this definition.

There must be a second element that could be either of the following:

  1. The driver caused the vehicle accident by acting in serious disregard for the safety of others. This disregard is going to be more serious than distracted driving but does not need to be as serious as reckless driving. Reckless driving may be charged in addition to vehicular assault.
  2. The driver was under the influence of alcohol or any intoxicating drug (legal or illegal). This can be determined by a breath test, blood test, or by a drug recognition expert and will result in a separate DUI charge.

Vehicular Assault PenaltiesIn WA State, vehicular assault is considered a serious felony. This Class B felony is a strike offense (3rd strike is life in prison).

A conviction can result in court ordered:

  • jail time (up to 10 years)
  • fines (up to $20,000)
  • probation
  • substance abuse treatment
  • loss of gun rights

Civil consequences can result in:

  • 1 year driver's license suspension
  • ignition interlock device
  • high risk auto insurance
  • loss of housing
  • employment termination
  • revocation of a professional license
The victim doesn’t want to press charges. Will this help?

An injured person might have been a passenger in your vehicle. However, only a Washington State prosecutor can make the decision to file charges. Unfortunately, the State will not consider the wishes of an injured person when filing vehicular assault charges.

I admitted guilt. Is my case hopeless?

No case is hopeless. If you have limited criminal history and are in good standing with your community, careful negotiations can mitigate your consequences. A vehicular assault attorney should speak on your behalf.

How do I Win a Vehicle Assault Case?

Each element must be fought to unravel Washington State's case against you.

This includes fighting:

  • inconsistencies in witness statements & police testimony
  • the legality of any breath or blood tests
  • medical reports that don't show a substantial injury
  • one-sided police reports that often omit facts that are in your favor
  • car accident "experts" that are hand-picked by the prosecutor and are often law enforcement agents

Vehicular assault felony charges are often filed with additional gross misdemeanor charges such as reckless driving, DUI, and hit and run. At Beckwith Law, our vehicular assault lawyers fight for clients on all charges related to the accident.

We also do our own independent investigation to uncover any evidence that is beneficial to your defense. In some situations, if we can unravel one of the associated charges (DUI or reckless driving), the more serious vehicular assault charge is also dismissed before trial.

We defend clients in the courtrooms of King County, Pierce County, Snohomish County, Kitsap County & Thurston County, including the cities of Tacoma, Seattle, Kent, Bellevue, Olympia, Puyallup & Lakewood, WA.

We can be called any day of the week (including after-hours) for a free consultation.