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Homicide by Watercraft Lawyer

In Washington, homicide by watercraft (or watercraft homicide) is a serious offense and it calls for a defense attorney with considerable experience with boating and boat accident court cases. Mr. Graham has been boating since age 3, and he was licensed to operate a boat at age 13. watercraft homicide attorneyAttorney Graham grew up on Long Island Sound. His father was a Lieutenant in the Navy and served as a navigator, and he taught his son from a young age. As a defense lawyer, Steve Graham has successfully handled many high profile boat accident cases including a not-guilty verdict on a fatal boat collision involving two school teachers on Lake Roosevelt in Lincoln County. Mr. Graham has worked with some of the top expert witnesses nationwide, including boat expert Phil Odom from Lake Havasu. Fatal boat collisions number only 700 per year (compared to 40,000 for cars). Such cases are not common, and if your life is on the line, it is important to find the best criminal defense lawyer who has experience with this niche work. Contrary to what many prosecutors think, there are different standards for boats than cars. People are allowed to have a beer while operating a boat, and it is wrong for investigators to jump to conclusions just because a boat operator had alcoholic beverages in his or her vessel.

Legal Definition

Homicide by watercraft is defined as causing the death of another person while operating a boat or vessel 1) while under the influence of alcohol or any drug, 2) while driving the boat in a reckless manner; or 3) while driving a boat with disregard for the safety of others. watercraft assaultThe charge can be made whether the operator kills another occupant of the boat, or a different boat, swimmer, diver, water skier or any other person. Homicide by watercraft is a class A felony.

The penalties for watercraft homicide largely mirror those of vehicular homicide. That is to say if a person commits watercraft homicide by being under the influence, the crime has a seriousness level of 9, and a conviction brings a punishment of 31 to 41 months. Committing this offense by reckless driving has a seriousness level of 8 and brings a punishment of 21 to 27 months. Committing the offense by disregard for the safety of others has a seriousness level of 7 and brings a punishment of 15 to 20 months. At sentencing, the judge has limited authority to vary from those mandatory sentences unless he or she can find good grounds to ask for an "exceptional sentence" under the law.

Assault by Watercraft Attorney

Under Washington law, assault by watercraft is defined as causing substantial bodily injury to another while operating a boat or vessel: 1) while under the influence of alcohol or any drug (BUI), or 2) while driving the boat in a reckless manner. "Serious bodily injury" means injury which involves a substantial risk of death, serious permanent disfigurement, or a protracted loss or impairment of the function of a part or organ of the body. Note that this offense requires a higher level of injury than vehicular assault.

To meet the definition of watercraft assault, the injury must be done by the driver of the vessel or the boat itself. If injury is done by a waterskier, that might be a different offense, such as reckless endangerment, but it would not be watercraft assault. Assault by watercraft is a class B felony. The offense of assault by watercraft has a seriousness level of 4, and brings a standard range sentence of 3 to 9 months in the county jail.

Location of Boat Accidents

Boat accidents are found wherever there is water, and people that can afford the vessels. Mr. Graham has worked on such cases on Lake Roosevelt (Columbia River), the Spokane River, the Puget Sound, Lake Sammamish, Banks Lake, Lake Chelan and Lake Coeur d'Alene. Mr Graham has worked as a criminal defense lawyer for 19 years, and previously worked as a prosecutor in King County. Boat accidents often involve allegations of alcohol or drug use, or accusations of driving recklessly. It is important to talk to an attorney right away prior to making a statement to the police or any insurance investigators. Mr. Graham offers from consultation on criminal cases, and he looks forward to talking to you about how he may be able to help.