The overwhelming majority of DUI cases in the State of Washington are charged as gross misdemeanors. Those are punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine not to exceed $5,000. There are exceptions though, and if substantial bodily harm is suffered by the victim of a drunk driving accident, the allegedly intoxicated driver can be charged with felony DUI which is a Class C felony with much harsher penalties. Class C felonies are punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
Substantial bodily harm is also addressed in Washington’s vehicular assault statute. It might involve one or more of the following:
- Temporary but substantial impairment or the complete loss of an organ or body part.
- Temporary but substantial disfigurement.
- A fracture of any bone.
Vehicular assault is classified as a Class B felony in the State of Washington. It’s punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $20,000. The Washington Department of Licensing will also revoke the driver’s license of the offender for between one and three years, depending on the circumstances surrounding the DUI arrest.
Minor Injuries and Unfair Sentencing
What qualifies as substantial bodily harm under Washington law is overly broad and vague. Substantial impairment might be an alleged temporary loss of consciousness without any objective medical proof that the alleged victim actually suffered it. A small cut with leaving a scar of less than an inch can result in a felony charge under the statute. Minor accidental injuries shouldn’t turn a driver with a .09 blood alcohol content into a convicted felon. Any such sentence is fundamentally unfair in relation to the actual harm that might have been committed. These and other substantial impairment cases beg to be reduced to misdemeanors. When all of the evidence is against you, that becomes our mission.
Contact a Spokane DUI Defense Lawyer
The consequences of any DUI conviction in the State of Washington are going to impact your life, especially if there is a felony conviction. You’ll want to retain a Spokane DUI defense lawyer to represent you who is highly regarded by both prosecutors and judges. You can contact us to arrange for a free consultation and case evaluation here at our offices on any Spokane DUI case. We’ll listen carefully to you and examine the evidence. Then we’ll tell you of what we think we might be able to do for you. Contact us right away after any misdemeanor or felony DUI arrest. Both prosecutors and judges in Spokane know us and respect us.