In just a little over a week since recreational marijuana use was made legal in Washington, a pedestrian was killed after allegedly being struck by a driver high on pot.
The accident happened in Vancouver, Washington, as a man crossing the street while carrying a grocery bag was struck and killed by a pickup truck, reports the AP.
The driver of the pickup truck was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana, and was identified as 47-year-old Scotty Rowles.
Under the new marijuana DUI laws, a driver with more than five nanograms of marijuana in his system is considered to be driving under the influence. However, this does not mean that someone with less THC in his blood stream could not also be charged and convicted of a DUI. Instead, so long as you are "affected" by the drug and it impairs your driving, you could be charged with a DUI. It was not reported whether Rowles took a chemical test, and if he did, what his THC level was.
Rowles could now face very serious penalties for the fatal accident. Typically, a drunk or high driver who kills another faces vehicular homicide charges (RCW 46.61.5055). This is considered a class A felony (the most serious felony in Washington) and someone convicted of the offense could face life imprisonment (RCW 46.61.5055).
To avoid this penalty, Rowles will need the assistance of an experienced attorney who can work on his affirmative defenses to the DUI or help work on a plea deal to avoid spending the rest of his life in jail.
A DUI that results in death is an obviously serious charge. If you are ever involved in a DUI accident that results in injury or property damage, you will need the assistance of expert legal counsel. At Wolff Criminal Defense, our attorneys limit our practice to DUI defense, and we fight aggressively on behalf of our clients. Our attorneys have worked as both prosecutors and as public defenders. Call us today at 425-284-2000 for a free consultation.