Thursday, May 23, 2013

Washington State DUI bill clears Senate hurdle

Unless you have been living under a rock the past few months and you don't read this great blog.  Then you probably know that Governor Inslee and the Washington State Legislature are seeking to implement tougher DUI Laws in our fair State.  They didn't have enough time during the regular legislative session, so a special session was set to work on this bill as well as some other issues in our State.  

Well the first hurdle has been cleared in paving a path to Washington State having the Toughest DUI laws in the Nation.  The bipartisan bill proposing the changes passed the Senate last week and is on it's way to the chambers budget panel to deal with some of the fiscal issues it will cause. 

Among some of the provisions of SB 5912 there would be a 10 day increase to all minimum DUI jail sentences.  A fourth DUI conviction would now be considered a felony.  And ignition interlock devices will now be required on all repeat offenders when they are initially released from jail following their DUI arrest.  Additionally the bill would also prohibit deferred sentencing on DUI cases.  Something as a Seattle DUI Attorney I do not agree with.  

Assuming this bill passes it would make Washington State the Toughest State in the Nation when it comes to punishing DUI offenders.  And as tough as things may get they may get tougher next year.  Recently the National Traffic Safety Board recommended lowering the DUI blood alcohol limit to 0.05 from what it is currently at 0.08.  Now they have no legal authority to do this, essentially they are just a group who conducted a study and published their opinion.

However there are two key players in Washington State who are in favor of this and who have hinted they may push for this next year.  Governor Inslee is one and Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes is the other.  Inslee has already shown a propensity to not be afraid of making making major changes to existing laws.  And don't forget his initial proposal for the new bill to DUI laws was a lot tougher.  I mean it was ridiculous.  Things like everybody who gets a DUI arrest gets booked into custody and then in order to get released an ignition interlock device must be placed on a car. Things like that.

But first let's wait and see what the final bill looks like before we start worrying about lower DUI blood alcohol limits on DUI cases.

About the author: Matthew Leyba is a Seattle DUI Attorney.  His practice focuses on representing those accused of DUI and other related offenses.  He is currently rated as one of the Top Seattle DUI Attorneys by Avvo, and listed as a Rising Star in DUI Defense by Super Lawyers Magazine and the Seattle Met Magazine.  An honor less than 2.5% of all Attorneys receive. 


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