When a person is killed in a hit and run, the media may make a defendant's case more challenging. Unfortunately, public scrutiny may add another difficulty to the penalties the defendant already faces. In some cases, when a defendant is able to create an effective strategic defense plan, the penalties associated with a criminal offense, such as drunk driving or vehicular homicide, may be reduced. Recently, a defendant convicted of vehicular homicide had his prison time penalty shortened.
According to local reports, a Seattle man has been released from prison almost two years early. Police say that in 2010, the man hit another man with a car and drove over the other man. According to police, the driver had a blood alcohol concentration that was more than Washington's legal limit. The man pled guilty to charges of vehicular homicide and a hit and run and was sentenced to more than four years in prison, which was the maximum prison sentence allowed by the state's law in 2010. The maximum prison sentence for vehicular homicide has tripled since 2010.
In Washington, vehicular homicide is classified as a felony offense, which may be defined as causing the death of another person through the use of a motor vehicle while under the influence. A hit and run may be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony and is dependent upon the circumstances surrounding the case. A hit and run may be classified as a felony if the driver failed to stop and provide aid after being involved with the accident and the other person dies or if another person is injured as a result of the driver's involvement in the accident. A person convicted of these criminal offenses faces penalties, which include significant fines, prison time and revocation of their driver's license.
A defendant convicted of a vehicular assault or vehicular homicide offense faces serious penalties that could affect their lives and the lives of those closest to them. It is important to remember that all defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty, and every defendant deserves a fair trial.
Source: Q13 Fox Seattle Tacoma, "Drunken driver who killed man in Belltown already out of prison," Dana Rebik, Jan. 25, 2013