Senate Bill 5912: How Changes in DUI Law May Affect You

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Jul 24

Lewis & Laws

Senate Bill 5912: How Changes in DUI Law May Affect You

by Lewis & Laws

Law SB5912 Passed Making DUI Laws Stricter

Last week, Governor Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 5912 into law. SB 5912 was passed unanimously in both the state house and senate, and most provisions will take effect on September 28th, 2013. The law is designed to make DUI laws stricter, especially for those with prior offenses. After reading through the text of the bill, here are some highlights to consider:

[1] A person charged with or arrested for DUI who has had a prior offense, a court shall require as a condition as a condition of release that the person provide proof of installing a ignition interlock device [IID] with five business days of their release from custody.

[2] In lieu of ordering installation of an IID device upon release, a court may require the person to comply with a 24/7 alc./drug monitoring program. Such a program is later defined in this same law as an electronic device that determines the presence of drugs or alcohol in a person's body, commonly referred to as a TAD [Transdermal Alcohol Monitoring Device] or SCRAM [Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor] device. This distinction could be important for persons who live in a location where ignition interlock providers are not available.

[3] Various courts are now allowed to establish and operate DUI courts. A DUI court is a special calendar/docket that will likely focus on heavy monitoring to lessen the amount of subsequent DUI offenses. At first blush, this process seems as if it might be fairly similar to drug court and mental health court [for jurisdiction that have such programs].

[4] Deferred sentence, meaning a sentence suspended post-conviction that may result in a dismissal of the charge if certain terms are complied with, is no longer an option for DUI and many related charges. Language has also been added to current law that specifically disallows deferring the imposition of mandatory minimum penalties upon conviction of a DUI or many related charges.

[5] Language limiting prior offenses for felony DUIs in determining an offender score to matters within the past ten years has been replaced with language indicating ALL predicate crimes shall be used to calculate offender score.

[6] Language indicating the state patrol may only inspect IID in the vehicles of customer for proper installation and functioning at the vendor's place of business has been removed.

[7] Language has been added to prior statutes making it a criminal offense to drive a commercial vehicle or be a minor operating any vehicle with any concentration of THC in a person's system. It is also against the law to drive any vehicle with a THC concentration of 5.00 nanograms per million of blood or more. Similar changes have also been made to Physical Control and other statutes, along with updating implied consent warning language to include THC warnings.

[8] In lieu of electronic home detention, the court may order a specified period of 24/7 sobriety program monitoring for those convicted of certain DUIs. This type of program involves a participant submitting to tests of blood/breath/urine for alcohol/drug testing, and the program is a pilot program created in this same bill.

[9] Mandatory jail sentences for those convicted of a DUI where a passenger under the age of 16 was in the vehicle have been increased.

[10] Statutory criteria added indicating the judge shall, during sentencing, consider factors including whether the vehicle involved in the DUI was traveling in the opposite direction of the normal flow of traffic.

[11] Negligent driving 1st degree language has been amended, making it illegal to drive a vehicle in a negligent manner and exhibit effects of having consumed liquor or marijuana or ANY drug. The law previously only considered illegal drugs.

[12] Language requiring a court to punch a person's driver's license upon conviction of a DUI has been removed.

[13] For a conviction of certain types of offenses, including DUI where there has been a prior conviction within seven year, the court may consider a forfeiture of the vehicle involved at sentencing.

[14] A previous exception to an ignition interlock device requirement for those person who live in an area where a device is not reasonably available has been rescinded, and a prior exception to the IID requirement for employer owned vehicles has been drastically altered.

[15] If an officer attempts to administer a blood test when appropriate, for certain offenses an officer may administer the blood test against a person's will if a warrant or exigent circumstances exist.

If you are facing a DUI charge and want to know how these changes may affect you, contact one of our attorneys as soon as possible for a free consultation. Find a lawyer who is ahead of the changes before they take effect, is knowledgeable in the law, and can properly advise you in your case.

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