Every time there is a well publicized drunk driving tragedy, there will be a clamor for new and stricter DUI laws.
The fact is Mark Mullan had no business driving a vehicle without an ignition interlock device. There were laws in place to prevent the man from driving drunk. However, those laws were ignored and Mullan got behind the wheels of his car drunk and plowed into a group of pedestrians killing two.
It's because these laws were ineffective in stopping the DUI offender that members of the public are wondering if there is anything that can be done.
In the past 15 years, Washington lawmakers have stiffened the penalties for DUIs. In this time, new felony DUIs were introduced, ignition interlock devices were required for first-time offenders, and penalties for certain drunk driving crimes were enhanced, reports The Seattle Times. As a result, MADD considers Washington to have some of the toughest DUI laws in the country.
Yet, with each new tragedy, some individuals wonder if the laws have gone far enough. Especially troubling to lawmakers is what to do about repeat offenders like Mark Mullan who account for 38 percent of all DUI cases.
Some lawmakers indicated that they plan to make DUI a felony on the third conviction rather than on the fifth in ten years. Others have indicated that improved technology like improved interlock devices and requiring cars that can sense whether a driver is intoxicated may be in order. In addition, lawmakers have indicated that better enforcement of ignition interlock devices may be necessary.
In the meantime, drivers in Washington still face very severe penalties for even a first-time DUI. And given the current climate regarding drunk drivers, someone charged with the crime better be prepared for a difficult legal fight.
That's why it is important to work with an experienced DUI defense attorney if you have been charged with drunk driving in the Seattle or King County areas. Prosecutors may be looking to come down hard on drunk drivers. But despite the recent tragedy, you still must remember your rights as a defendant. Contact the lawyers at Wolff Criminal Defense if you need help with your defense. Don't fight your DUI fight alone.