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DUI Accidents

If you are involved in a DUI related accident in Washington state, you could face criminal traffic charges in addition to the drinking and driving offense. Whenever you face multiple criminal charges, it is important to put your case in the hands of a veteran defense attorney as soon as possible.

At The Law Offices of Smith and White, PLLC, we offer a free initial consultation to discuss the charges you are facing. With office in Tacoma, our attorneys handle DUI and criminal traffic charges throughout western Washington state, Pierce County, King County and the Puget Sound area.

Washington State Criminal Traffic Charges

Prosecutors have discretion in determining what additional charges a person may face in the case of a DUI-related accident:

  • If the person in the other car (or pedestrian) is not injured, you could be charged with misdemeanor reckless driving.
  • If the person in the other car (or pedestrian) is injured, you could be charged with felony vehicular assault.
  • If the person in the other car (or pedestrian) is kill, you could be charged with felony vehicular homicide.
  • If you had a child in the car with you, you could be charged with felony reckless endangerment.
  • If you leave the scene of an accident, you could be charged with hit and run.
Assault and Homicide

Of course none of the charges listed above are desirable – no criminal charge is. However, probably the two scariest possibilities are vehicular assault and vehicular homicide.

Vehicular assault is charged when bodily harm is caused in a traffic accident and the underlying cause is suspected to be a DUI or reckless driving. Even though you did not intend to cause harm; vehicular assault is classified as a felony. You could be facing a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. This is serious, you need to know that. We do know that and will treat it with the seriousness and thoroughness needed.

Vehicular homicide is charged when it is believed that the accident, and therefore the death, was caused by drug or alcohol impairment or by reckless driving. Although you feel horrible that this happened you may be hoping the law will be lenient. After all, you didn’t mean to hurt, let alone kill, anyone. This is not the case. In the eyes of the law the only difference between vehicular homicide and any other homicide is the weapon involved. In the eyes of the law you may as well have used a club, knife or gun; this will be dealt with as harshly as any other homicide. This means you may be facing up to life in prison and up to a $50,000 fine and there is a minimum of 15-20 months of prison time on the least serious form of vehicular homicide. Plus, since this was a driving incident, you may also be facing your license being taken away, being forced to use an interlock device and additional prison time added to your sentence for each prior DUI conviction. That’s not all – this will now be a felony on your permanent criminal record. As you are probably aware that can threaten certain civil rights such as voting and gun ownership and make securing employment and getting housing, federal aid or loans very difficult. That’s why this is serious; aside from your own personal feelings this can follow you with consequences for the rest of your life.

Reckless endangerment, hit and run and reckless driving may have lesser consequences but also have stiff penalties. It should also be remembered that these charges are in addition to, not instead of, the DUI charge. So you would potentially be facing those penalties as well.

Are There Defenses in DUI Accidents?

Just because you tested over the legal limit of .08 does not mean you do not have a defense. With the help of a veteran lawyer both blood and breath test results can be challenged.

Police may even have difficulty proving you were driving the car. In an accident the driver is usually out of the vehicle by the time police officers arrive. This can raise the issue of corpus delicti which means "the body of the crime." The police officer needs evidence outside of the statements of the defendant that make him or her guilty. If the police officer cannot place you behind the wheel of the car then the prosecutor may have proof problems.

Contact Our Tacoma Reckless Driving Defense Lawyers

To discuss your case with our Tacoma DUI accident defense lawyers, call (253) 203-1645 or send us an e-mail through this website. We will arm you with the information you need to make sound decisions about your case. Call or e-mail the law office of Smith & White, PLLC – your free case analysis awaits you.

Client Reviews
I was represented by James White and have been nothing but satisfied with the outcome. Jame is very efficient and eliminates much of the stress that the judicial system can place on an offender. I am very grateful to have such a great attorney and owe him my gratitude for helping me when times were rough. Not only is he professional, but he is also someone you can talk to on a personal level. I highly recommend James White and would undoubtedly use him again in the future. If you are in search of an attorney, do yourself a favor and have the law offices of Smith & White represent you. Mike D.
I contacted James after my charge for reckless endangerment, and right from the start he was informative and reassuring. James worked hard to get me the best possible outcome, and was always very quick to return a call or text. He was straightforward and honest with me about my case, explaining both the good and the bad in a way that was reassuring without being misleading. Overall, I highly recommend Smith and White to anyone who is looking for the most professional representation in their legal matters. Matthew B.
Attorney James White was a beacon of hope for me at a time when my options appeared limited and the likeness of a satisfactory resolution seemed close to nothing. Not only was he able to defend me in a specific sticky situation in which I hired him for, I felt as though he also went above and beyond in efforts to provide me with the best outcome possible. His calm and professional demeanor offered such a great assurance to myself and those I care about around me. I am completely grateful for his service and I most definitely recommend Mr. White. Leyasha J.
Derek Smith guided us through a troubling legal situation with absolute professionalism. This was my first experience with a trial situation and Mr. Smith was able to address all of my questions and concerns in a way that helped address some of the fear I had regarding the legal system. Mr. Smith was highly effective during the trial and the result ended up in our favor. Legal troubles are scary and it was great knowing we had a fantastic legal team on our side to help navigate the somewhat confusing situation. My wife and I emphatically recommend this law firm. Steve B.
Mr. Smith was wonderful to work with. He was professional, knowledgeable and effective!! He takes the time to listen, which is amazing and can be a hard quality to find! He is informative and straight forward, which I truly appreciate! He was quite helpful on another matter that I asked his advise on. Thank you!!! Melika