We wrote earlier about Governor Jay Inslee working with a bipartisan group to strengthen Washington DUI laws.
As more details of the proposed bill emerge, we are learning just how aggressive the new law is. For example, the proposed law would lengthen DUI sentences and even ban some DUI offenders from buying alcohol for a decade, reports The Seattle Times.
Inslee himself called the proposed laws “the most aggressive, the most effective, the most ambitious” changes to state DUI laws ever. These laws come in the wake of a high-profile fatal DUI accident that killed two people and that was allegedly caused by a driver with multiple recent DUIs.
Some of the major provisions of the proposed law that may have prevented the fatal tragedy include:
- Quicker Charges. Suspected drunk drivers will be charged with the crime soon after being arrested. Currently, a DUI suspect may wait many months before the criminal process begins.
- Ignition Interlock Devices. These devices must be installed in vehicles before they are returned to someone arrested for a DUI. Right now, individuals convicted of a DUI are required to install the devices themselves. However, there is very little oversight to ensure that individuals follow through.
- Tougher Mandatory Minimum Sentences. Individuals who are convicted of repeated DUIs face tougher mandatory minimum jail sentences.
- Alcohol Purchase Ban. Someone arrested for drunk driving three or more times would be subject to a ten-year ban from buying alcohol. This would be the first law of its kind in the U.S.
- Special Driver's License. Repeat DUI offenders would be required to have a special driver's license demarcating them as such. And all bars and restaurants would be required to card everyone so they will see who has been busted for drunk driving.
The regular legislative session ends April 28 and there is no guarantee that this law passes despite its bipartisan backing. In fact, there are two competing DUI laws also making its way through the process.
By the end of the month, we may have profound changes to Washington DUI laws. That's why if you are charged with drunk driving in the Seattle or King County areas, it is imperative that you work with an experienced attorney. Contact the DUI defense attorneys at Wolff Criminal Defense if you need assistance on your case. You can call us at 425-284-2000 for a consultation.