The Washington legislature is close to passing new DUI laws that will fundamentally alter the way DUI defendants are treated in our legal system. New law changes will include:
- Police will be required to arrest and book into custody all DUI offenders where the officer has knowledge they have a prior DUI related offense on their record.
- Judges must order the installation of an ignition interlock device in the defendant's car as a condition of release pending trial where the defendant has a prior DUI related offense on their record.
- The State increases funding to hire more prosecutors to ensure “rush filing” of new DUI charges.
- While mandatory minimum sentencing requirements are not changed, additional jail time is added for DUI offenses where a child was a passenger in the car.
- Courts may no longer enter a deferred sentence for DUI convictions.
- Court will be authorized to consider the forfeiture of vehicles at sentencing where the defendant has a prior DUI on their record.
- Drivers will no longer be eligible for an ignition interlock waiver where they drive an employee owned vehicle for purposes of commuting to and from work. The ignition interlock waiver in all other circumstances does not apply for the first 30 days on a first DUI, and for a year on a subsequent DUI.
- Blood alcohol/drug testing is removed from the Implied Consent Law. Instead, police must obtain a warrant to seek a blood alcohol/drug test, or argue that exigent circumstances excuse the lack of a warrant.
Once passed, these new law changes will go into effect later this year. This law does not contain many of the proposals that were initially mentioned in the media earlier this year.
- There are no substantial changes to sentencing requirements.
- The felony DUI law has not been changed. A person will be charged with felony DUI on a fifth DUI in a 10 year period.
- Vehicles impounded following arrest are not required to have ignition interlock devices installed before they can be released from the impound lot.
- The proposed “24/7” sobriety program has been reduced to a “pilot” project with minimal funding. It is not clear when this program would be operational, where it would apply, or how long it will last.
Our firm continues to monitor these proposed changes, and will post continued updates on this legislation as the legislature wraps up the process of implementing new DUI laws for our State.