Changes in Washington State DUI Statutes

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Feb 19

Baker, Lewis, Schwisow & Laws

Changes in Washington State DUI Statutes

by Baker, Lewis, Schwisow & Laws

Changes in Washington State DUI Statutes

The Washington State Legislature made extensive changes to DUI statutes in the state earlier in the year. A significant number of Washington’s DUI-related statutes saw major changes from the passing of House Bill 1614, with most of those changes taking effect on July 23, 2017. Many in the state are unaware of these changes and could have some unwelcome surprises awaiting them if they happen to be pulled over for impaired driving. Some of these changes in the DUI statutes include:

Police officers are now allowed to draw blood from a DUI suspect, after undergoing phlebotomist training. Washington State has long allowed forcible blood draws, however only with a warrant, as the implied consent law prohibits forcibly taking blood from a DUI suspect. Until this year, only certain medical personnel were allowed to perform this type of forcible blood draw. However, under the new laws, trained police officers can also perform a blood draw.

Next, under the new DUI statutes, a person must now wait for a full ten years from the date of their arrest to vacate an offense deemed a “prior offense,” such as reckless or negligent driving, etc. If a police officer is aware that a DUI suspect already has pending DUI charges, the new laws allow mandatory booking of that suspect. As far as ignition interlock devices are concerned, IID vendors are now allowed to retain .25 cents per month out of the $20 per month ignition interlock license fee which is currently paid to the DOL. The IID tolling provision for the IID medical exemption now requires 180 days of compliance, rather than four months.

For those who have prior DUI offenses, the new statutes offer some possible alternatives, such as:

  • The court is now allowed to consider a 24/7 pretrial sobriety program as a fulfillment for a portion of the sentence.
  • A license revocation can be reduced to one year, if six months of a 24/7 sobriety program are completed.
  • For those who have one prior DUI (with a BAC under .15), the sentence has changed to four days in jail and either 120 days of a 24/7 sobriety program or 180 days of EHM, in lieu of 30 days jail and 60 days EHM.
  • For those who have one prior DUI (with a BAC over .15 or a refusal), the sentence has changed to 6 days of jail and either six months of EHM or 120 days of a 24/7 sobriety program, rather than 45 days of jail and 90 days of EHM.

Other New Rules Under Washington DUI Statutes

Refusal to submit to a blood draw may no longer be used as evidence in a criminal trial, unless the refusal is to a warrant, and tongue piercings are allowed to be removed as a “foreign object” when testing the breath of a suspected impaired driver. For drivers who fail to appear there can be an expansion of licenses suspension under the new laws, and the DUI fees were increased by $50.

Getting Help for Your Washington State DUI Charges

Should you find yourself in the difficult position of facing DUI charges, it is imperative that you contact an experienced Seattle DUI attorney as quickly as possible. The outcome of your DUI charges can be significantly altered when you have a knowledgeable advocate by your side, who will fight hard for your rights and your future. Particularly for those being charged with a first-time DUI, an experienced DUI attorney can often have the charges reduced to a lesser offense or dismissed altogether. It is certainly worth a phone call to have someone on your side who knows the complexities of Washington DUI laws, and who truly has your best interests at heart.

Have you or someone you love been arrested and charged with a DUI? Contact the Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers at Baker, Lewis, Schwisow & Laws

If you are charged with a DUI, contact an experienced Seattle DUI attorney as quickly as possible to minimize the consequences of your charges. The experienced defense team at Baker, Lewis, Schwisow & Laws, PLLC vigorously defend the rights of individuals facing a multitude of charges in Seattle, Bellevue, and Kirkland. Contact us today at 206.209.0608 or fill out our online contact form to get more information or to get a free case review!



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