Washington lawmakers have passed a bill meant to toughen DUI laws, but some people say that it does not go far enough. Senate bill 5912 was approved, but was not as strict as it was expected to be. The bill was drafted after a high profile DUI crash that resulted in fatalities gained wide media attention. Legislators say that they wanted a stricter law, but they had to pare down the bill because the measures included would have cost too much.
The bill, expected to be signed by Washington's governor, requires time in jail for repeat offenders and faster processing of charges. Individuals with prior DUI convictions who are arrested on suspicion of drunk driving would be jailed immediately and held up to three days until charges are filed. The accused individual's car would be fitted with an ignition interlock device right away. In some areas, repeat offenders would be monitored around the clock to prevent drinking. The proposed law will not change mandatory minimum penalties or make DUI a felony if a person has fewer than five convictions in 10 years.
Initially the bill called for prohibiting the purchase of alcohol for those who have been convicted of DUI three times or more. The bill also called for increases in mandatory minimum sentences and automatic orders to use ignition interlock devices for all suspects. These measures were removed because lawmakers said that they would cost too much.
A DUI conviction can have serious consequences and reduce a person's future employment prospects. A DUI defense attorney may be able to challenge any evidence against those accused of driving under the influence. An attorney may also challenge the evidence of a DUI if it was gathered improperly by the authorities.
Source: The Seattle Times, "How budget constraints narrowed Olympia's DUI crackdown", The Associated Press , June 27, 2013