Vehicular Assault: A Criminal Defense Attorney’s Perspective
When a criminal investigation or charge for vehicular assault or vehicular homicide happens to you or a loved one, they tend to surface suddenly and abruptly. Unfortunately, in our experience as criminal defense attorneys | lawyers, we know all too well how much these kinds of cases catch clients and their families off guard and turn lives upside-down. It is essential that any client facing these kinds of charges, whether in jail or in a hospital, retain or have retained for them experienced felony lawyers who can immediately start protecting their rights and limit a party’s voluntary involvement in their own prosecution, or mitigate the consequences of their actions.
Advice and involvement of competent criminal defense counsel is absolutely necessary as early on in the process as possible. In 2013, a U.S Supreme Court decision in Missouri v. McNeely said officers may not take blood samples from drivers who refuse to provide them voluntarily, but can do so if they have a warrant or some kind of “exigent circumstance.” The rapid disappearance of alcohol from the bloodstream is not considered an exigent circumstance in and of itself but it might be a factor. That being said, Washington State has since streamlined the warrant process for officers in vehicular homicide cases with standardized forms and judges are available at all hours to sign these warrants. Given other potential drugs that can be used to prove impairment, like marijuana or prescription drugs, it becomes essential that counsel be involved in the investigation process as early on as possible to limit any voluntary participation in one’s own prosecution.
Vehicular assaults turn into vehicular homicides if a victim dies and there is proximate cause (a logical connection that will hold up in court) to connect that death to injuries sustained in the accident. Vehicular assault and vehicular homicide are both serious felonies in the state of Washington and both are subject to a variety of sentence enhancements, restitution hearings as well as revocation of a client’s right to drive. RCW 46.61.524.
Immediate issues surrounding blood draws, police investigation, interviews and statements can have long-term impact on the prosecution for vehicular assault.
Our firm has a unique blend of courtroom experience, knowledge and temperament. Our criminal defense lawyers | attorneys work as a team and are highly experienced in dealing with the complex fact specific arguments surrounding vehicular assaults and serious felonies. Our lawyers know that criminal cases are rarely as simple as police reports claim and our clients retain us early on in the process to make sure their rights are protected. Consultations are free but a poor choice in counsel is not. The first step in evaluating counsel is an appointment.