The Washington legislature recently passed a bill that may be more harsh on those convicted of DUI. One recent incident helps illustrate the motivation behind passing such a bill. In May 2013, a Washington man rear-ended another vehicle. When police arrived, they allegedly found two open containers of alcohol in the vehicle the man was driving. They then allegedly discovered that the man's driver's license had been suspended. His blood alcohol level prior to the crash was not disclosed, but the man was charged with drunk driving. It was later discovered that the man had thirteen prior DUI convictions dating back to 1984.
If convicted, the man faces a maximum punishment of three years and 90 days of imprisonment. Washington law requires enhanced penalties when a person has five convictions within a ten-year period. However, this driver would not face those penalties if convicted, as his convictions occurred over a longer period.
One prosecutor stated that it is not uncommon for drivers to have multiple DUI convictions. Many people choose to drive with a suspended license, or even after a judge orders them not to do so. Some drivers do not install the required interlock devices, or will borrow a car rather than use the device. Governor Inslee is expected to sign a bill tightening DUI laws before July 18. The law would not increase maximum allowable jail time for those with several DUI convictions.
When a person is accused of driving under the influence, a criminal defense attorney may be able to help. It may be possible to get the driver into a treatment program to help avoid later incidents. An attorney may also be able to negotiate for reduced penalties including alternatives to jail time or community service.
Source: KING5.com, "Tacoma man could be convicted of 14th DUI", Allen Schauffler, July 05, 2013