Lawmakers are back at it again working to strengthen DUI laws in Washington and Rep. Roger Goodman (D--Kirkland), the Chair of the House Public Safety Committee (HSPC), is leading the way. The HSPC works on issues related to law enforcement agencies, criminal penalties and sentencing, crime prevention, impaired driving, and more. Rep. Goodman holds national recognition for his efforts to reduce drunk driving from organizations including the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Over the past couple of years Rep. Goodman along with Rep. Brad Klippert (R--Kennewick) have successfully passed legislation amending Washington's DUI laws. Just recently in January, Rep. Goodman introduced to the House of Representatives HB 2700 -- a bill containing provisions that would change the way law enforcement and the courts manage DUI cases. Some features of the bill include:
- More stringent ignition interlock requirements;
- Enhancing felony DUI law; and,
- Expedited license suspensions after a driver is arrested for DUI.
On February 17, at the third reading of the bill, HB 2700 passed the House with 97 yeas and 1 nay. It is now in the hands of the state Senate where public hearings started on February 23.
Washington DUI License Suspension, Revocation, and Ignition Interlock Devices
In Washington, DUI minimum penalties are often influenced by a person's breath alcohol concentration and any prior offenses they may have. It is important to note that penalties can be imposed by a criminal court for a DUI conviction, as well as the state Department of Licensing (DOL).
For example, the Washington state DOL will suspend a driver's license for failure to submit to a breath test or if the driver blew above the legal limit of .08 BAC. Having your license suspended or revoked by the DOL can occur even before a DUI conviction in a criminal trial. Furthermore, if you wish to drive while your driver's license is suspended or revoked because of DUI charges, an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) must be installed in your vehicle, and you need a special driver's license and high-risk insurance.
An IID is a breathalyzer installed in a driver's vehicle that analyzes breath alcohol concentration of the driver before allowing the vehicle to start. If a specific alcohol concentration level is exceeded, the IID will prevent the vehicle's engine from starting. Typically, an IID is not required on a vehicle owned by the individual's employer that is driven as part of their employment during ordinary business hours.
A Seattle DUI Defense Attorney Can Help You Evaluate Your DUI Case, License Suspension or Revocation, and IID Issues
If you have been arrested for DUI, before you submit to having an IID installed in your vehicle, you should speak with a DUI Defense Attorney who can help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of such a decision. An attorney who knows the DOL system can file the appropriate paperwork to challenge a license suspension after an arrest for DUI. At Wolff Defense, I have represented hundreds of people in Seattle and throughout western Washington state in proceedings challenging the suspension or revocation of their driver's license. If you are facing license suspension, revocation, and an IID installation, contact me, Aaron J. Wolff to get started with your case evaluation.