With the Washington state legislature considering tougher penalties for drunk driving offenses, many in Seattle may be wondering whether these penalties will actually prevent drunk driving. These questions may be even more apparent after a teenager was charged with vehicular homicide after he allegedly drove under the influence of alcohol.
According to a study, half of teenagers admit to drinking before the age of 16. This statistic could mean more DUI-related teen deaths. Recently, a 17-year old driver was charged with vehicular homicide after he allegedly drove drunk. Reportedly, a 15-year-old passenger was killed after the vehicle the 17-year-old was driving crashed into a tree.
In Washington, a vehicular homicide is considered a class A felony offense. Generally, it involves operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs causing death of another individual. A defendant's blood alcohol level at the time of the incident may be used against a defendant facing a DUI offense such as vehicular homicide. Notably, individuals under the age of 21 who have operated a vehicle with a blood alcohol level that is less than the state legal limit of 0.08 may face a minor DUI offense.
The decision to drink and drive could change the life of an individual instantaneously. Because of this possibility, individuals should be aware of the penalties and how many drinks they may have had before getting behind the wheel. It is important to remember that all defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty and all deserve a fair trial. A professional can work with the accused by filing with the court, reviewing the evidence and even questioning police procedure in some cases.
Source: Q13 Fox.com, "Teens who drink early have high risk of alcoholism," Hana Kim, April 25, 2013