An Idaho man who admitted using methamphetamine and marijuana was arrested earlier this month after crashing his car into a Bremerton bus stop, killing a woman and critically injuring a man.
The crash occurred just before noon. The driver lost control of his car, drove onto the sidewalk and into the bus stop where the two people were seated. The man was taken by ambulance to a Tacoma hospital in critical condition. The woman was airlifted to a Seattle hospital where she died.
The man was given a field-sobriety test and charged with driving under the influence.
A person is guilty of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug if the person drives a vehicle:
- And has, within two hours after driving, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher or a THC concentration of 5.00 or higher, as shown by analysis of the person's breath or blood; or
- While under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug; or
- While under the combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor, marijuana, and any drug.
It does not matter if the driver has a prescription for the drug, including marijuana, they can still be charged with driving under the influence if they are found to be impaired.
Driving under the influence is typically a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, or a fine of up to $5,000 or both.
However, if the driver has four or more prior offenses within 10 years, or if the person previously has been convicted of vehicular homicide or vehicular assault while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug, it becomes a Class B felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, or a fine of up to $25,000, or both.
If the DUI results in a death or a serious injury, the penalties increase.
A driver can be charged with vehicular homicide if the person they injured dies from injuries related to the crash within three years of the incident. The same applies to drivers who were behaving in a reckless manner or with disregard for the safety of others, even if they were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Vehicular homicide is a Class A felony, punishable by up to life in prison, or a fine of up to $50,000, or both. Two years will be added to the sentence for each prior DUI offense.
A driver is guilty of vehicular assault if he or she drives:
- In a reckless manner and causes substantial bodily harm to another; or
- While under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug, 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 means bodily injury which involves a temporary but substantial disfigurement, or which causes a temporary but substantial loss or impairment of the function of any bodily part or organ, or which causes a fracture of any bodily part.
Vehicular assault is a Class B felony.
A DUI conviction, plus any associated charges, can have serious, long-term implications. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, call the Seattle law office of Steve Karimi at (206) 621-8777 or contact him online.