New DUI laws in Washington State effective 8/1/12

Once again Washington State DUI laws will be changing. Some good, some bad. Below are a few of the highlights, or lowlights depending on how you view this. On 3/29/12 Governor Gregoire signed the following into law under SHB 2443, and they will become effective 8/1/12. So without further adieu here you go.

Increased penalties for DUI’s where a child is in the vehicle: Under this new law if a child is in the vehicle during a DUI or Physical control then it must be documents by the arresting agency, and Child Protective Services must be notified. Additionally the definition of a child increased to 16 years old. Penalties also increased with more fines, and additional 6 months of an ignition interlock device. So bottom line, if you have a few drinks on a Saturday night dinner with your family, and you get stopped for a Washington State DUI and you have kids in the car. Be prepared for increased penalties, and a more zealous prosecution.

Eligibility to remove a DUI conviction from your record: If you’re convicted of a felony DUI, or Physical Control conviction then you can never have that vacated off your record. Also if you get a DUI reduced to a lesser offense (i.e., Reckless Endangerment, Reckless Driving, Negligent Driving 1) and it counts as a prior offense then it cannot be vacated if the person has a subsequent alcohol and/or drug violation within 10 years. It used to be a long shot to get these vacated after 5 years, but now it appears people have to wait 10 years.

Increased cost of Ignition Interlock License: The cost to have this type of license will increase an extra $20 a month to help pay for indigent people

Reckless Driving suspension credit: It used to be that if your license was suspended administratively by the DOL, and then you got the criminal DUI case reduced to a reckless driving there would be an additional 30 day suspension on top of whatever the DOL administrative suspension was. Now you can get a credit for the 30 days from the administrative suspension. In this Seattle DUI Attorneys opinion this is a good change of the law.

Electronic home detention conversion: This area of the law used to always be kind of murky, and varied depending on the Judge. Previously if a person was convicted of a DUI and they faced a mandatory home detention sentence, there was no explicit law that would convert that EHM time to jail, if the person wanted to just serve their sentence in custody. Now there is. So if you get a 60 day home detention, then this can be converted on a 15:1 ration. You now would do an extra 4 days in jail. This is a good change in the law.

Eligibility for out of state IIL license: It used to be that in order to be eligible for the ignition interlock license you needed a valid Washington State drivers license at the time of suspension. Now a driver who is otherwise eligible for an ILL, but does not have a Washington state license can now be eligible for the IIL.

Remember if you have been arrested for a DUI, its important to contact a Seattle DUI lawyer immediately to ensure your constitutional rights are protected. Visit our Seattle DUI Law Firm website to learn more.