Posts tagged DUI laws

Lawmakers Want Tougher DUI Laws

Roger Goodman, Democratic Representative of Kirkland, is heading House Bill 1276 that is aimed at toughening DUI laws.  Goodman suggests that Bill 1276 fills DUI law gaps and will strengthen current drunk driving laws.  According to lawmakers, the bill’s primary goal is to keep roads safe and to detour repeat DUI offenders.

A lot of different areas of DUI laws are covered in the lengthy bill, with several of the proposals focused on improving the existing ignition interlock devise laws;

  • — Requiring the courts to notify the Department of Licensing when a defendant is required to use an ignition interlock device (IID) and notifying officials when restrictions are lifted and;
  • — Requiring an IID restricted driver, who has agreed not to drive, to sign an affidavit of non-driving, which must be filed with the court.

Another area of the proposal deals with the marijuana open container law;

  • — Making it a traffic infraction for a person to have an open container of marijuana in the main compartment of a vehicle. (The marijuana must be in a closed sealed container from a 502 retailer, and if the marijuana is in a broken sealed container or a non 502 container than the individual shall be cited with a traffic infraction).

At a public hearing held days ago, many legal professionals suggested the bill needs revising and reworking in order to be effective.  Bill 1276 is scheduled to be presented at an executive session of the House Committee on Public Safety next Friday

 

“DUI Policy Day” – For Lawmakers in Olympia

This past Tuesday, lawmakers in Olympia Washington had an unofficial “DUI Policy Day” to review and discuss House Bills 2344, 2506, 2507,  2503,and 2728.  The bills will provide clarity to unclear current DUI laws and will also stiffen penalties for repeat DUI offenders.

House Judiciary Committee chairman, Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland lead the discussion on bills.  Bill 2344 became a fiery debate.  2344 would require the Department of Licensing to mail out reminders of installation of an ignition interlock device to individuals who have been convicted of a DUI.  The ignition interlock device prevents drunk driving by requiring the driver to blow into a breathalyzer before their car will start.  Additionally, the bill stated that if an individual bought a new car to circumvent placing an ignition interlock device into their car they would be charged with a gross misdemeanor.  Republican Chad Magendanz, supporter and sponsor of Bill 2344, said it’s “absolutely clear,” this bill will prevent accidents and will detour individuals from buying a new car to escape placement of an ignition interlock device into their current car.  DUI defense attorneys and other opponents of 2344 exclaimed the bill was vague and way too costly at a projected 6 million to print and send ignition interlock reminders.  Goodman stated the cost “might put the bill in jeopardy.”

Bill 2506 requires Class C DUI felonies to be upgraded to Class B felonies.  The change in class would not increase sentencing ranges but would enhance post prison supervision on individuals that have an extensive criminal history.  Amy Freidheim, a King County prosecutor, said  this bill would only affect about a half-dozen people in King County over the past seven years.  Thus, bill 2506 would change post-jail conditions for approximately one person in King County each year.

Bill 2507 enhances penalties for individuals that have committed at least two DUI related vehicular homicides.  For the very very small number of individuals that fall into this category, they would have substantial increased jail time.

Bills 2503 and 2728 are primary technical changes, including or excluding wording.  However, the bills do include the ability for law enforcement to conduct blood draws from individuals that contest taking the alcohol breath tests.  Law enforcement would no longer require a warrant for the blood draw.

In addition to these 5 bills, Roger Goodman brought up several other DUI crack down ideas which included random DUI checkpoints.  Most of the ideas were quickly thrown out due to cost or overall ineffectiveness.  Marijuana DUI discussions were also heard.  Activists were voicing their disagreement with I-502 making it a crime to drive with five nanograms of THC (the active component in marijuana) in an individuals blood stream.  Their thoughts were five nanaograms was too low of a limit and that many law-abiding medical marijuana users have more than that in their bloodstreams and still physically and mentally function at levels safe enough to operate a car.

 

Written by S.O

 

New Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Laws

Unfortunately every year there are fatal car accidents caused by drunk drivers.  However, this year has been different, Washington State lawmakers filed over a thousand pages of new driving under the influence (DUI) legislation within the months of March through June.

This mad rush of lawmaking was the aftermath of two tragic DUI related cases in the Seattle area.  Governor Inslee, lawmakers, and the “public” have been demanding tougher laws against drunk drivers ever since.

Many of the ideas proposed in early drafts had a lot of public and lawmaker support but were completely unrealistic as actual policies.  A popular proposal was to require special licenses or ID cards for people with DUI history to prohibit their purchase of alcohol.  This proposal appeared quite ineffective considering current Washington State law allows the use of various forms of identification for the purchase of alcohol, including passports and military ID’s.

Another popular proposal that went nowhere was the requirement for all drivers arrested for DUI to have an ignition interlock device installed in his/her vehicle while contained at the impound lot.  The vehicle would remain impounded until the ignition interlock devices was installed properly.  This proposal quickly didn’t pass because of testimony provided by representatives from ignition interlock companies that it was not feasible to install devices off site.

The two mentioned proposals did not pass into law this session.  However, new DUI law, Engrossed Second Substitute Bill 5912, passed and will become effective September 28, 2013.

As a result of 5912 there will be additional mandatory jail time for a DUI driver who had a child passenger.  A court sentencing under the new DUI law must consider whether or not a driver had a passenger under the age of 16 years in the vehicle at the time of the incident and impose additional jail time if they did.  For a DUI driver with no DUI history, this additional mandatory jail is 24 hours.  For a DUI driver with prior DUI history the additional mandatory jail is five days (one prior DUI) and ten days (two or more prior DUI offenses).

Also, 5912 impacts drivers with DUI history at the time of arrest and during pre-trial conditions of release.  During a DUI arrest, if the officer has knowledge of the individual having a prior DUI offense within 10 years, 5912 requires that driver to be booked into jail and held until released by a judge.  Any judge setting pretrial conditions of release for a person with a prior DUI is required by 5912 to impose an installation of an ignition interlock device.  The law does not allow for removal of the device until acquittal or dismissal of the DUI charge.

Driving under the influence laws are ever-changing.  If you or anyone you know is accused with DUI call David O Defense Criminal and DUI Litigation to schedule a free consultation.

David O Defense
2211 Elliott Avenue, Suite 200 Seattle, WA 98121
Tel: 206.459.6392
Fax: 888.615.0237
Email: david@davidodefense.com

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