Driving and vehicle offenses

Vehicular Assault

In addition to jail and fines, conviction usually carries license revocation of at least a year. In some instances, special sentencing enhancements, such as the Minor Child enhancement, may apply. For each child passenger under 16 in the driver’s vehicle at the time of the vehicular assault, a 12-month sentence enhancement applies. Such enhancement is to be served in total confinement and runs consecutively to all other sentencing provisions.

Serious allegations require serious defense. Call Ashbach Law Offices, LLC, at 360-659-4950 or 888-WA-LAW-NW today for a free, personalized case evaluation. We give each case the individual attention and concern it deserves.

In General


Vehicular Assault in Washington is a Class B Felony, which is punishable by up to 10 years in jail. Vehicular Assault can be committed many ways, and each way has its own separate punishment structure. For example, Vehicular Assault by Being Under the Influence has a standard range of 3-9 months if the person has no prior history, while Vehicular Assault by Operation of a Vehicle with Disregard for the Safety of Others has a standard range of 1-3 months for a similarly situated individual.

Additionally, each victim in a Vehicular Assault may be treated as a separate offense, which can easily stack up significant jail or prison time.

Vehicular assault


RCW 46.61.522, the Vehicular Assault statutes, says:

1) A person is guilty of vehicular assault if he or she operates or drives any vehicle:
a) in a reckless manner and causes substantial bodily harm to another, or
b) 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
c) with disregard for the safety of others and causes substantial bodily harm to another

"Substantial bodily harm" has the same meaning as in RCW 9A.04.110. That defines Substantial Body Harm to mean “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 Homicide


Vehicular Homicide is similar to Vehicular Assault, except that any alleged victims must have died within three years of the event caused by driving. Due to this provision, some vehicular assault charges may morph into vehicular homicide charges if the victim(s) succumb within the three years.

Vehicular Homicide is a Class A Felony. For prior offenses, a two-year sentence enhancement applies for each prior.

RCW 46.61.520 states:
When the death of any person ensues within three years as a proximate result of injury proximately caused by the driving of any vehicle by any person, the driver is guilty of vehicular homicide if the driver was operating a motor vehicle:

a) while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug, as defined by RCW 46.61.502, or
b) in a reckless manner, or
c) with disregard for the safety of others

Each method of having committed the crime is punished differently, with Vehicular Homicide – DUI being the most severely punished.