Washington state already has some of the toughest DUI laws in the country. However, there are still many ideas that can further strengthen existing laws.
Recently, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended that states lower the legal limit to drink and drive to 0.05 percent blood alcohol level. The NTSB cited research that drivers with blood alcohol levels above this amount are much more likely to get into an accident. States that adopt this stricter limit would align themselves with many countries that have successfully combated drunk driving.
In addition to lowering the legal limit, here's a look at some other ways that Washington lawmakers may seek to stop drunk driving:
- DUI Checkpoints. Washington State Patrol and other authorities cannot institute DUI checkpoints. These are essentially roadblocks where authorities will randomly check drivers for signs of drunk driving. The arguments against using these checkpoints include that they invade individual's privacy rights and are unnecessarily obtrusive. However, these checkpoints can be effective in stopping drunk driving in known trouble areas.
- Ban on Drinking. Under the new DUI laws, certain repeat DUI offenders may be prohibited from drinking any alcohol at all. This ban would be effective regardless of whether someone is driving or plans to drive. An obvious deterrent to drunk driving would be to increase this ban to apply to any individual convicted of a DUI.
- More Enforcement. The sad thing about many DUI accidents is that they are entirely preventable if only existing laws were enforced. For example, authorities often do not check to ensure that individuals comply with ignition interlock requirements. In addition, too many individuals drive despite having a suspended license. Increased enforcement of existing laws could put a serious dent in the number of DUIs.
Washington DUI laws are complex and oftentimes in flux. If you have been charged with a drunk driving offense in the Seattle or King County areas, you will want to work with an experienced attorney that knows the law and understands your options. To discuss your case with an attorney at Wolff Criminal Defense, call 425-284-2000.