Police have arrested man suspected of driving while intoxicated with three children in his car after crashing into a motorcycle and killing the rider. One of the children suffered facial injuries in the accident. The 36-year-old Lacey man was arrested for investigation of vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, driving under the influence and three counts of reckless endangerment.
Seattle criminal defense attorney Steve Karimi explains the laws relating to driving under the influence with children in the vehicle.
Driving Under the Influence and Reckless Endangerment
An arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) with children in the vehicle comes with severe consequences for the driver. DUI and reckless endangerment are two separate crimes, but a driver is charged with both when there are children are in a vehicle at the time of the arrest.
DUI with Children in the Vehicle
Washington has strict DUI laws that apply to all drivers, regardless of whether there are children in the vehicle. A driver is guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol when they:
- Are under the age of twenty-one with a BAC level of .02% or greater;
- Are over the age of twenty-one with a BAC level of .08% or greater; or
- Are driving a commercial vehicle with a BAC level of .04% or greater.
When an individual is arrested for driving under the influence and children under the age of sixteen are in the vehicle, state law requires that law enforcement officers promptly notify child protective services about the incident. This law applies in situations where the individual arrested for DUI is a child's parent, guardian, legal custodian, or sibling or half-sibling. Law enforcement officers have the legal right to take the children into protective custody if they have probable cause to believe that the child is abused or neglected.
What is Reckless Endangerment?
A driver can be charged for reckless endangerment when they engage in behavior that creates a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another person, including a child. Reckless endangerment is a gross misdemeanor crime and is different from the offense of reckless driving.
What is Vehicular Assault?
Vehicular assault is a class B felony crime. A person is guilty of vehicular assault if they drive a vehicle:
- In a reckless manner and causes substantial bodily harm to another; or
- While under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug, as defined by RCW 46.61.502, and causes substantial bodily harm to another; or
- With disregard for the safety of others and causes substantial bodily harm to another.
Substantial bodily harm is injuries that involve a temporary but significant disfigurement, bone fractures or that result in the impairment of any part of the body.
Contact Seattle Defense Attorney Steve Karimi
If you have been charged with a crime while driving with children in your car, experienced Seattle defense attorney Steve Karimi can help. Call the Law Offices of Steve Karimi at 206-621-8777 during regular business hours or 206-660-6200 24 hours a day for a free consultation.
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