A recent proposal to overhaul Washington's DUI laws had appeared to be on a fast track for approval. The proposal had been expected to be approved before the regular legislative session came to a close.
Legislators have decided to step back in order to take advantage of a possible special session. Lawmakers are planning to focus on a more narrow set of proposals. The original proposal had been quickly created in the wake of two fatal Seattle accidents. In both cases, authorities cited alcohol as a factor. The proposal was billed as "the most aggressive, the most effective, the most ambitious" drunk driving bill of its kind in state history.
The proposal has garnered some criticism from law enforcement officials and local governments who have said that it is too expensive and unworkable. The original proposal included an alcohol ban and a requirement that all cars impounded following DUI arrests be outfitted with ignition-interlock devices. The proposal also included a 24/7 "sobriety program" as an alternative to incarceration.
The newer version of the proposal scaled back on items such as jail sentences and interlock device requirements. The new proposal would still increase sentences, but not by as much. Interlock devices would be required within 10 days of an arrest, and only for people with previous DUI convictions.
Changes to DUI laws have a direct effect on people who are facing DUI charges. If these new proposals are passed, people with DUI charges may face longer sentences and other penalties. Anyone in the Seattle area who may be affected by the new DUI laws may benefit from a consultation with a criminal law attorney. An attorney might be able to explain possible outcomes in light of the new legislation.
Source: Seattle Times, "Lawmakers slow down on DUI proposal," Brian M. Rosenthal, April 24, 2013