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Lawmakers are Trying Again To Make 4th DUI Conviction a Felony Charge

Lawmakers are Trying Again To Make 4th DUI Conviction a Felony Charge

Senator Mike Padden, Republican – Spokane Valley, for the second time is trying to push a bill into law that will make a 4th time DUI conviction within the past 10 years a felony conviction.  Currently, Washington State law mandates that a 5th DUI (Driving Under the Influence) charge within the past decade is a felony DUI charge.

It was only a year ago, when Senator Padden first tried to present his bill to lower the felony DUI threshold, but the bill lost momentum and was quickly turned down due to financial cost concerns for imprisoning more drunk drivers found guilty of a felony DUI.  Padden believes this year will be different, he spoke this past Wednesday sharing that his new bill, Senate Bill 5105, has more support from both Senate Democrats and fellow Republicans.

“I think it’s a matter of priorities,” Padden said. “… We may need another prison, or to put one that we have in mothballs into operation.”

Changing Washington State felony DUI law is not a new novel idea.  In 2013, after a string of drunk driving related fatalities, Governor Jay Inslee’s work group also made the same recommendation, to lower the felony DUI level from 5 to 4.  Additionally, neighboring States have had harsher felony DUI laws existing for years.  Both Oregon and Idaho have laws that make a driver’s 3rd DUI charge within 10 years a felony DUI charge.

Padden and fellow supporters of the bill believe that tougher DUI laws will help deter repeat drunk driving offenders and that increased penalties for those who do repeatedly offend will perhaps get the help they need while keeping them off the roads aiding in lowering drunk driving related accidents.

Being convicted of a felony DUI is no joke.  Here in Washington State, if an individual is  found guilty of a felony DUI he or she could face up to 5 years in prison and a maximum fine amount of $10,000.00.  The actual sentence is determined by a judge who calculates the individual’s “offender score” which is based on points for current and prior criminal convictions (unless the individual is a minor).  Additionally, the Judge would revoke the individual’s driver’s license for many years.

Senate Bill 5105 will go before the Senate Law and Justice Committee soon.


Continue to follow our Legal Blog at David O Defense for all the current DUI and criminal defense happenings in our cities and in Washington State.  “DUI and criminal defense is what we know and do best!”



Washington State DUI Laws Becoming Tougher?

Washington State DUI Laws Becoming Tougher?

Buzz is in the air about Washington State DUI laws being ineffective in reducing the number of repeat DUI offenders.  This recent DUI law concern stems from the tragic DUI homicide that occurred last week in North Seattle, when Mark W. Mullan, who was driving drunk with a blood alcohol level 3 times the legal limit, hit and killed 2 grandparents and critically injured the daughter-in-law and her new baby.  Mullan, a five time DUI repeat offender, revealed weaknesses within DUI multiple offender laws by ignoring court ordered installation of an ignition interlock device in his pickup truck and continued driving despite his license revocation.  Lawmakers and citizens are demanding stricter repeat DUI offender laws and tighter monitoring of DUI penalty compliance, to continue to reduce the number of DUI related homicides and DUI related accidents.

Solutions that are currently being tossed around include; making a DUI a felony count on the third conviction rather than the fifth conviction, increasing the length of jail time for repeat DUI offenders, use of police sobriety check points for all drivers to be assessed for DUI, requiring a boot on a car until an ignition interlock device has been properly installed, and possible development in technology to equip vehicles to sense driver intoxication and disengage driving capabilities.

Follow David O Defense for the latest changes on DUI laws.