Sunday, November 24, 2013

Another Seattle vehicular homicide case is over

There has been plenty of King County DUI news in 2013.  I will forever remember this year for the horrific DUI crashes in King County, the repeat high profile DUI offender vehicular homicide cases in the news, and the toughening up of DUI laws by the Washington State legislature in response to those DUI cases.  I recently wrote about the Mullan DUI case and how he pleaded guilty last week effectively ending the criminal DUI case in Seattle.  Well another vehicular homicide case pleaded guilty this week effectively ending that Seattle criminal DUI case.  

A Kirkland woman who was under the influence of alcohol and a prescription drug when her minivan collided head-on with a car occupied by four people, killing an elderly woman, was sentenced Friday afternoon to nearly 11 years in prison.  The Seattle Times reports that Kelly Ann Hudson, 43, pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide, vehicular assault and reckless driving in September.  In the plea deal she took responsibility for her actions and even though she had no prior criminal history she pleaded guilty as charged.  

Like the Mullan case it appears that Hudson took responsibility for her actions following that horrific DUI crash in King County.  She didn't put the victims family through a long jury trial and accepted what she did and took her medicine.  I doubt the victims family takes any solace in this but as a practicing DUI lawyer in Seattle I can tell you that decision does not come lightly and the fact she pleaded guilty as charged says a lot about the case.  

Yes she killed these people.  Yes she committed a horrific crime.  But in terms of her plea deal there was nothing more she could have done.  Sometimes when you read the comments of the Seattle Times article I get the feeling that people just don't understand how the criminal justice systems works.  Some people are upset she only got 11 years.  Some people are saying she didn't take responsibility for her actions.  

Well as someone in this area of law who practices DUI Defense in Seattle.  Let me tell you there was nothing more she could have done.  She pleaded guilty as charged.  She can't plead any more guilty that than.  She was sentenced to the high end of the sentencing range.  A range that she doesn't get to pick but one that is set by the Washington State legislature.  So in other words there was nothing else she could have done in terms of her criminal case in that court room in Seattle.  

Maybe some view her apology as insincere.  I wasn't there so I have no idea.  But in terms of her criminal case, her sentence, and her plea deal she took responsibility.

About the author: Matthew Leyba is a practicing DUI lawyer in the Seattle Bellevue area of King County.  He is rated as a 10/10 by, and was named a Rising Star among Seattle Bellevue DUI lawyers by the Seattle Met Magazine, an honor less than 2.5% of all Attorneys in Washington State receive. 

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