Drunk driving can lead to serious consequences. A driver's license suspension, jail time and fines are some of the most common penalties upon conviction. However, a driver causing substantial bodily harm while driving under the influence will be treated differently than a person who has allegedly committed a simple drunk driving offense, which is usually considered a misdemeanor.
Seattle drivers should understand the difference between misdemeanor charges and felony charges, as the two categories are treated differently in court. For example, a driver who causes a fatal DUI accident will be charged with vehicular homicide, a Class A felony. On the other hand, a driver who appears to be drunk at a traffic stop will most likely face a drunk driving charge, which is a misdemeanor.
In Kirkland, Washington, which is a short distance from Seattle, a two-car collision occurred. Based on the initial investigation, an alleged drunk driver was speeding on Interstate 405 when he rear-ended another vehicle. The suspected drunk driver's car tumbled before it came to rest in a ditch. The other vehicle sustained serious damage in the collision.
The 29-year-old suspected drunk driver is under investigation for vehicular assault. He was apprehended by authorities and is incarcerated in the King County Jail. The 66-year-old driver of the other vehicle was unharmed in the collision.
In this case, the suspected drunk driver may face a vehicular assault charge, which is a Class B felony. Being charged with a felony DUI means that a suspect will face harsher penalties, which may greatly affect his daily life. Because the consequences are severe, a driver accused of vehicular assault or homicide should protect his or her best interests first.
A suspected drunk driver may also wish to speak with a legal professional to learn more about the available options in his or her case. An experienced traffic crime lawyer can sometimes establish a DUI defense, reduce charges or possibly get the case dismissed entirely.
Source: Komo News, "Suspected drunk driver arrested after I-405 rollover crash," Aug. 17, 2013