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Phone: 206-727-4000
Davis Law Group, P.S.

Does Washington State have a vehicular homicide law?

Yes.  Washington is one of several states that have specific statutes which allow a homicide charge to be brought against an individual who kills another person through the operation of a motor vehicle, either intentionally or negligently.  It is common for drunk drivers to be charged with vehicular homicide if they cause a motor vehicle accident which results in the death of a person(s). 

Vehicular homicide in Washington State is a class A felony and is punishable under chapter 9A.20 RCW:

RCW 46.61.520 Vehicular Homicide – Penalty.

1)    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 drugs, as defined by RCW 46.61.502; or

b)    In a reckless manner; or

c)    With disregard for the safety of others.

2)    Vehicular homicide is a class A felony punishable under chapter 9A.20 RCW, except that, for a conviction under subsection (1)(a) of this section, an additional two years shall be added to the sentence for each prior offense as defined in RCW 46.61.5055.

Believe it or not, the state of Washington has an extremely low average sentence for Vehicular Homicide.

The average sentence for a Vehicular Homicide plea bargain is rarely above three years, one year of probation, a $1000 fine and the judge may revoke the defendants driver's license as well as may require an electric home monitoring device.

Compared to many other states, Washington's average plea bargain is low. Many other states average between 3-10 years prison time for vehicular homicide. In addition, the $1000 fine is lower than the most states. For more information visit the Vehicular Homicide Sentencing chart.

If you have any additional questions about vehicular homicide and wrongful death claims as a result of a fatal car accident, please do not hesitate to contact our office online here or call 206-727-4000 today to schedule a free legal consultation with Davis Law Group, P.S.


Chris Davis
Top-rated, award-winning, civil litigation attorney practicing wrongful death & serious injury law in Seattle.