Proposed DUI bill proved too costly for State lawmakers

At a April 16th news conference earlier this year, Governor Inslee outlined a proposal to strengthen the existing DUI Laws in Washington State.  In the aftermath of two horrific tragedies involving repeat drunk drivers he described his proposal as “the most aggressive, the most effective, the most ambitious in state history.”  On Wednesday the Washington State Legislature unanimously approved a more scaled back version of what was initially proposed.

Ultimately, the so called most aggressive, most effective, and most ambitious DUI laws in the Nation proved to be too much money for State lawmakers facing another budget shortfall.  In fact what Governor Inslee and others wanted would have cost Washington State over $300 million over the course of 3 years.  Yes you read that correctly, $300 million dollars.  And guess where that money would have come from.  But this more scaled back version is only going to run about $2 million a year.

So what cost so much money?  How do you go from $300 million to $2 million.  In my opinion as a DUI Lawyer and from what I can gather there were 4 big amendments that ultimately proved too costly and were stricken.

First the proposal of the decade long alcohol purchasing prohibition was a biggie.  The State would have had to create new drivers licenses, and bars would have been required to card all patrons.  The cost of this was simply too much in the end.

Secondly the amendment to book all individuals charged with DUI, and charge them immediately and require the installation of an ignition interlock device before they could remove their vehicle from impound.

Thirdly the 24-7 alcohol monitoring program for repeat offenders was also stricken and a pilot program has been put in place to study the feasibility of such an amendment.  If you recall this would have required those arrested for DUI to be monitored 24-7 by Court services.

And lastly the amendment that would make a 4th DUI a felony was dropped.  Currently it sits at 5 DUIs within 10 years.

In a subsequent blog I will review all the changes that were approved and how they will affect Washington State Laws.  Make no mistake about it SB 5912 makes some major changes to DUI laws in Washington State.  Although they may not be known as the toughest laws in the nation, they do make things tougher in our State if you get charged with a DUI.

About the author: Matthew Leyba is a DUI Lawyer in Seattle.  He has been named a Rising Star in the field of DUI Defense by Seattle Met Magazine and other publications.  An honor less than 2.5% of all Attorneys receive.  Additionally he is rated as a Top Seattle DUI Attorney by Avvo with a rating of 10 out of 10.