Over the holiday weekend, an off-duty New Orleans police officer led Louisiana State Police on a high-speed chase on Interstate 10 through New Orleans. Officers were called to a CVS on Saturday night when a clerk refused to sell the off-duty NOPD officer, Carlos Peralta, any alcohol. Peralta engaged in a screaming match with the clerk and sped off in his vehicle after the police were called. Soon after, a vehicle matching the description of Peralta's vehicle was seen “swerving all over the roadway” and police managed to catch up with him and pull him over in a Walmart parking lot. As officers approached his vehicle Peralta sped off. City of Kenner Police and Louisiana State Police chased Peralta onto I-10, topping speeds of 110 miles per hour and weaving in and out of traffic before police ultimately disabled the vehicle with spike strips.
The car exited the interstate, hit a curb, and went off the road before the catching fire. Peralta's passenger, his 15-year old relative, jumped out the car immediately, but Peralta had to be forcibly removed as he refused police orders to exit the vehicle. He failed all field sobriety tests given at the scene and his blood alcohol content measured at 0.24, three times the 0.08 legal limit. He was arrested with driving while intoxicated, aggravated flight from an officer, and reckless operation of a vehicle. Peralta, a 22-year NOPD veteran, has been placed on emergency suspension.
Vehicular Assault in Washington State
The event in the scenario above is an egregious occurrence no matter the state in which it takes place. If this incident were to take place in Washington, the off-duty officer may well have been charged with vehicular assault. In Washington, “a person is guilty of vehicular assault if he or she operates or drives any vehicle:
- In a reckless manner and causes substantial bodily harm to another; or
- While under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug and causes substantial bodily harm to another; or
- With disregard for the safety of others and causes substantial bodily harm to another.”
Vehicular assault without other charges is a class B felony.
Felony DUI Charges in Washington
Certain DUI offenses in Washington can amount to a felony DUI charge. Offenses such as multiple previous DUI convictions, or vehicular assault or vehicular homicide, may elevate your DUI to a class C felony. A class C felony in Washington may amount to the following penalties:
- Jail for up to five years; or
- Fines up to $10,000; or
- A combination of both of the above.
As with many other felonies, a felony DUI and vehicular assault, will stay on your record forever and may affect your ability to apply for loans, jobs, and certain educational institutions.
Call a Seattle DUI Defense Lawyer
Felony charges are extremely serious and a felony DUI of any kind should never be taken lightly. Seattle DUI defense attorney Steve Karimi is here to help. Mr. Karimi has been named a top-rated criminal defense lawyer in the King County area and has the case results to prove it. Contact the Law Offices of Steve Karimi today to set up a free consultation.