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Legislature taking tougher stance on DUI in Washington.

Posted by Nathan Webb | Apr 16, 2013 | 0 Comments

FROM KING5.COM 4/16/2013

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Drunk driving laws are changing in Washington state after two high-profile, deadly crashes involving suspected drunk drivers in King County.Governor Jay Inslee, D-Washington, announced a new package of driving under the influence laws has bipartisan support in Olympia.“Every accident and every death we see involving a DUI could have been prevented,” Inslee said in a release. “People who choose to get behind the wheel must know that we are done giving them a free pass.”The proposed legislation would result in several penalty changes.Police would have to arrest and take the driver into custody after a first DUI offense, according to the Governor's office. After a second offense, drivers would have to choose between treatment or a mandatory six months in jail.Drivers convicted of a third DUI would get at least a one-year prison sentence. In addition, a three-time offender will be issues a new driver's license that would prevent them from buying alcohol for 10 years.Frank Blair, whose daughter was killed by a DUI driver in 2010, said he was pleased with the proposed laws."It sends a message, we have to stop this, it's not ok," said Blair.Judy and Dennis Schulte were run over March 25 by a suspected drunk driver, Mark Mullan, in Northeast Seattle. Mullan is also accused of seriously injuring the Schulte's daughter and infant granddaughter. He had several prior DUI convictions.Morgan Williams was killed April 4 by an alleged drunk driver going the wrong way on Highway 520. The driver in that crash, Michael Robertson, was awaiting trial on another DUI charge.

Nate Webb says: These would be the strictest DUI laws in the nation!   No one condones drunk driving, but six months in jail or treatment (that is a change from 30 or 45 days to 180 days)!  Also, booking everyone arrested for a first offense DUI is ridiculous.  I have many clients who are charged yet their cases are never filed, or believe it or not, they are subsequently found not guilty or have their cases dismissed, this is draconian.  What the legislature is saying is that even though there is .08 threshold, and it is actually not illegal to have a couple of drinks and drive, if some cop wants to book you regardless of your breath test you are SOL.  My colleagues can attest to having clients charged with DUI even when their breath tests are below the legal limit!  So even though you were found not guilty or had the case dismissed, you were placed in jail for no good reason.  Is that due process, I think not.

About the Author

Nathan Webb

Nathan "Nate" Webb has been repeatedly recognized by Washington Law and Politics Magazine as a Super Lawyer Rising Star, named one of Seattle's Top Attorneys by Seattle Met Magazine and is rated Superb (perfect 10 out of 10) by Avvo.com.

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