Cooler heads seem to be prevailing with Proposed DUI Legislation

A recent Seattle Times article suggests that some are questioning Governor Inslee’s proposals for tougher DUI legislation here in Washington State. Specifically lobbyists for police, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and government officials are questioning the feasibility of a proposal to change Washington State’s DUI laws and questioning the proposed cost of 45 million to counties, and cities to implement these changes.

In case you’re not familiar with what is going on. Recently there have been two horrific accidents involving repeat DUI offenders. Due to these tragedies there has been an outcry by the media, and the public about toughening up the DUI Laws in our State. Some Government officials have decided to ride this wave of public backlash and propose some ridiculously tough laws which would make Washington State the toughest State when it comes to DUI laws. Some have found these laws hastily written and quite excessive. As you can guess I’m in that category.

Specifically there are several proposals that are questioned. The first is the proposal that anybody arrested for a DUI should be required to show proof of an ignition interlock device in their vehicle before they can get it released from impound. The second proposal is that every DUI charge must be filed within 48 hours. The third this article talks about is the proposed 10 year ban on alcohol for a repeat offender.

The article goes on to say how civil libertarians are calling the IID requirement unconstitutional because the individual has not been convicted of any crime or even charged. Additionally the Washington Association of Prosecutors are calling these proposals unworkable. Especially when you consider that most Prosecuting agencies do not file DUI charges right away, and typically 1-5 months to do so. When it comes to the 10 year ban some question how it would be enforced, and this alternative of a DUI court for repeat offenders may not be feasible for indigent defendants.

The sponsors of these bills seemed to recognize the issues and even suggested they are not going to try and jam these bills through before the end of the legislative session. In my opinion this is just talk and that is exactly what they tried to do. They tried to ride the wave of negative media and backlash and push this legislation through without really thinking about how it would effect the residents of Washington State, as well as the cost. They seem to now be backtracking, although we will wait and see what happens.

If you have read this blog then you know I do not agree with most of this legislation. Not because I’m a Seattle DUI Lawyer, but because I think there should be a distinction between a first time offender who did not injure anybody, and who has never been in trouble, and the person with 4 or 5 DUIs on their record. That should be the concern, and hopefully these legislators and sponsors of these proposals get that right.