Monday, January 28, 2013

New legislation in Washington State proposing DUI college courts

One of the things I do to keep up to date on the ever changing legal landscape regarding DUI laws is watch the proposed legislation in the Washington State legislature.  You would surprised to hear about some of the proposed laws offered by our State legislators.  One of the more interesting ideas is the proposed legislation of "DUI college courts" under SHB 5023.

The basic premise behind this bill is to address the growing concern of alcohol related offenses, specifically DUI offenses in Washington state college campuses.  RCW 2.28.175 codified last year already created the existence of "DUI courts."  Basically speciality courts designed to help those charged and affected by DUI's by offering intense judicial supervision, rehabilitation, and court ordered treatment. 

I first saw this type of court back when I was working in Spokane when I was working as a DUI lawyer at the beginning of my career.  They used to have courts designed specifically for those charged with DUI offenses.  And one of the aspects of creating these speciality courts was to offer these deals kind of like a deferred prosecution where if the defendant agreed to be monitored by probation, complete an intense alcohol treatment, and completely abstain from alcohol, as well as some additional conditions they would get the benefit of some kind of deal.  Typically what I would see would be an individual facing a significant amount of jail time enter into these types of deals.  It was kind of like a deferred but not since you only get one per lifetime.  The benefit of these deals was a reduction in charges so the jail, fines, and other penalties would be avoided.

The recent legislation of the DUI courts hasn't really been implemented in jurisdictions I practice in so I don't know how they are working.  But as a Seattle DUI lawyer I kind of like this idea of a DUI college court.  From my reading of the proposed legislation it sounds like there may be some benefits for individuals who are in these DUI courts.  Additionally the courts would be on college campuses, and only college students would be allowed to participate.  There is also a clause that would integrate the student code of conduct into these DUI college courts.  This is an interesting idea.

Especially when it comes to college students.  Who are starting out in life.  Building their resume, and worry about employment after graduation.  Obviously a DUI conviction can have a profound impact on an individual, but for a college student it can have severe consequences.  So this idea might be something to help those individuals who make a poor decision after a college party.

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Matthew A. Leyba is a Seattle DUI lawyer.  His practice focuses on representing those accused of DUI and other serious traffic offenses.  If you have been charged with DUI contact our office for a free consultation to discuss your rights, options, and how we can help you.   

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