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Vehicular Homicide and DUI in Seattle

Posted by Aaron J. Wolff | Feb 21, 2016 | 0 Comments

Lucas McQuinn, 29, Sentenced to Six and a Half Years in Prison

Vehicular Homicide is very serious charge in Washington.  Lucas McQuinn, a 29 year old Seattle man, learned this when he was sentenced to six and a half years in prison after pleading guilty to vehicular homicide in December 2015.  McQuinn admitted he was driving drunk when he hit a bicyclist in June who later died at Harborview Medical Center.

The crash occurred on June 27, 2015 -- and police claim McQuinn told an officer on scene after the crash he had consumed four beers in combination with the prescription drug Adderall -- a drug he took daily for his attention deficit disorder.  

Andres Hulslander is the victim who was killed in the crash -- a 45 year old man who was riding his bicycle from work to his home.  Hulslander was stopped at a red light just after 11 p.m. on his bicycle on Northeast 65th Street and 15th Avenue Northeast.  When the light turned green, he passed through the intersection and McQuinn's front bumper hit the rear wheel of Hulslander's bicycle, causing him to strike the windshield of the car, pass over the vehicle, and hit the pavement approximately 90 feet from the site of the collision.  Below are some important parts of the law regarding Vehicular Homicide in Washington.

Washington's Vehicular Homicide Law

Washington's vehicular homicide penalty is codified at RCW 46.61.520.  The law states that:

  • (1) When the death of any person ensues within three years as a proximate result of injury proximately caused (the cause is legally sufficient to result in liability) 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 in RCW 46.61.502; or
    • (b) In a reckless manner; or
    • (c) With disregard for the safety of others.
  • 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.

The prosecution is obligated to prove each element of vehicular homicide beyond a reasonable doubt in order to successfully gain a conviction.  Furthermore, the penalties for vehicular homicide vary widely depending on a person's criminal record and DUI history, plus any other aggravating factors from the case at hand.  In Washington, for a Class A felony, punishment includes life imprisonment and/or not more than $50,000.  In reality, an offender may actually serve 31 to 177 months of incarceration.

One of the major consequences of being convicted of vehicular homicide is the prospect of mandatory jail time, a permanent reflection of the crime on your record, the loss of your right to vote, loss of ability to purchase firearms, and restriction of travel outside the United States.  For these reasons, if you are facing charges for vehicular manslaughter, your best defense strategy is to challenge the prosecution's case per each element.  Employing a skilled DUI Defense Attorney with over 15 years of experience is a smart way to navigate Washington's criminal justice system.

About the Author

Aaron J. Wolff

A former DUI prosecutor, Aaron Wolff has over 16 years of experience in representing people accused of DUI and is recognized as one of the leading defense lawyers in Washington State. His relentless and passionate advocacy has lead to superb ratings and outstanding reviews from former clients.

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