Special Legislative Session set for 5/13 to work on toughening up DUI Laws

Over the weekend State Law makers reached a tentative deal on new legislation that would toughen existing DUI laws in Washington State. According to a recent Seattle Times article there are just a few finer points that need to be ironed out. Despite the regular legislation session ending last Sunday, the Washington State Constitution allows up to 30 additional days for a special legislative session. This session would start May 13, 2013.

The new changes are to existing DUI laws are as follows:

Anybody arrested for a DUI has has a prior conviction on their record must be immediately booked into custody and appear before a Judge before they are released from custody.
Upon release the driver would only have 5 days to get an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle or face going back to jail.
The jail sentence for a second and third DUI would increase dramatically by several months in jail. However as an option to opt out of any jail the defendant can particular in an intensive alcohol treatment program monitoring program where they must complete treatment and completely abstain from alcohol.
A fourth DUI would be a felony. Currently it is five

As a Seattle DUI Lawyer I must say these proposals are significantly better than what was hastily written by Governor Inslee in response to the two horrific tragedies that occurred in the past few months with drunk driving. However with that being said I do not believe what is currently being proposed is realistic.

First of all where is the money going to come from to fund this intensive alcohol monitoring program. It literally will cost millions and millions of dollars that the State of Washington does not have.

Secondly what will come of the ignition interlock device within 5 days condition. Are charges going to filed and will this be a mandatory condition of release. If charges are not filed then how can an individual have court imposed conditions. If they try and make this a DOL condition on your license after a DUI arrest then there will be due process issues left and right.

And lastly who will have this mandatory jail booking. Is it anybody with a prior DUI conviction ever? Or within 7 years? Will deferred sentences count as a prior conviction? What about a reduction to negligent driving 2? Will the booking be discretionary by the arresting Officer or what?

With that being said I do think making the fourth DUI a felony will help deter drivers who have multiple priors. So I guess we will wait and see what happens come the end of May.

About the author: Matthew Leyba is a DUI lawyer in Seattle, WA. His practice focuses on representing those accused of DUI and other traffic offenses. He is currently rated as a Superb DUI Lawyer in Seattle by Avvo, and is named a Rising Star in DUI Defense by Super Lawyers Magazine and the Seattle Met Magazine. An honor less than 2.5% of Attorneys receive.