In Washington State, vehicular homicide is defined as a driver hurting another person while operating and with a motor vehicle. A defendant can be charged with the crime within three years of the victim’s death. Another related criminal charge is called vehicular assault.

What is Assault?

Assault is defined as an attempted battery. To be charged with assault, a defendant must cause a victim to believe they will be immediately harmed. For example, the victim may believe the defendant will hit them with a bat or their fist.

How is Vehicular Assault Defined in Washington State?

A vehicular assault charge occurs when a driver in numerous ways:

  • A driver operates a vehicle in a reckless manner and causes a victim substantial bodily harm;
  • A driver operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol when they cause substantial bodily harm to a victim; or
  • A driver operates a motor vehicle with total disregard of the safety of pedestrians and/or other drivers, which leads to substantial bodily harm.

What the Difference between Vehicular Homicide and Vehicular Assault Charges?

Vehicular homicide means the victim died within three years of the motor vehicle accident. A vehicular assault charge occurs when the victim suffered severe bodily injuries, but did not die due to the accident.

What Type of Charge is Vehicular Assault in Washington State?

In Washington State, vehicular assault is charged as a class B felony.

What is the Criminal Punishment for Vehicular Assault?

The punishment for vehicular homicide in Washington State is up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $20,000.

Should I Talk to a Criminal Lawyer about My Vehicular Assault Charge?

Yes. It’s vital to speak a Washington lawyer about fighting your vehicular assault charge.