Washington State Senate Bill 6090 passed out of its committee and is now awaiting action by the State Senate Committee on Ways and Means, reports The News Tribune.
The bill sponsored by Mike Padden of Spokane Valley would cut the number of DUI convictions needed for a felony charge from four to three. This change would have an obvious fiscal impact given increased prison sentences and court costs and the Committee on Ways and Means will consider these economic impacts.
It was reported that there were 223 third-time DUI convictions in Washington last year treated as misdemeanors. Under SB 6090, these misdemeanors would now be considered felonies. While felony charges may result in greater fines against the perpetrator, the felony charge would also lead to higher costs. Officials estimate that the bill would impact roughly 335 DUI cases a year and that would cost the state roughly $6 million annually. Supporters of the bill point out that public safety considerations would outweigh this cost.
Last year, we already saw drastic changes to state DUI laws. This year, there are already several bills that have been proposed that would further strengthen the law. It will likely be several more months before we know whether SB 6090 will be passed.
In the meantime, if you have been charged with a DUI in the Seattle or King County areas, you will want to consult with an attorney to understand the law and the charges brought against you. The landscape of DUI laws and penalties are quickly evolving in Washington State and it can be difficult to keep on top of all the changes.
To learn more about a DUI charge and your options, contact a DUI defense attorney at Wolff Criminal Defense. Contact us at 425-284-2000 to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help you.