DUI Enforcers!

DUI and Vehicular Homicide remain strict liability crimes

Thursday, July 22, 2021 4:53 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Read the full opinion here.   State v. Vanderburgh, COA No. 35868-2-III

Because “drunk driving is neither innocent nor passive,”State v. Blake, 197 Wn.2d 170 (2021), does not overrule or invalidate alter pre-existing case law which holds that vehicular homicide predicated upon the defendant operating the vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs is a strict liability crime. The trial court did not err in excluding evidence that the jaywalking decedent pedestrian was potentially impaired by drugs at the time of the incident as neither the decedent’s noncompliance with state law regarding cross-walks nor drug use was a “but-cause” factor in her death. Read the full opinion here.   State v. Vanderburgh, COA No. 35868-2-III

The “driving under the influence of an intoxicant” for DUI or vehicular homicide is a strict liability crime, although the State must still prove that the conduct of the defendant was the proximate cause of the death. Frahm, 193 Wn.2d at 596. The defendant’s driving could have been “‘flawless.’”  Regardless, the law imposes absolute liability based on intoxication. State v. Burch, 197 Wn. App. 382, 407 (2016).

“Moreover, the conduct in vehicular homicide by intoxication requires the choice to consume alcohol and drive, an unquestionably dangerous combination.” State v. Bash, 130 Wn.2d 594 (1996).


Congratulation to Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office on this decision. 

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