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Changes to Washington State DUI Laws

Today lawmakers are meeting for a special session to discuss a budget deal that will affect several new bills that are on the table. One of the bills state Legislature is hashing out is a DUI bill replacement. Hoping to get the bill resolved today, Gov. Jay Inslee has made these revisions a priority. He argues that this is “the most aggressive, the most effective, the most ambitious” improvement to the state law in history. The revisions would take heat off first time offenders and instead focus primarily on those with repeat DUI’s.

Initially, the bill discussed placing a 10 year alcohol purchasing ban on people with more than 3 DUI offenses. While this idea has been thrown aside, the revisions are anything but minor. Senate Law & Justice Committee Chairman Mike Padden has crafted a proposal that would make DUI’s a felony on the 4th offense rather than the 5th. State Rep. Roger Goodman, an active voice in the bill’s fight, has proposed a “24/7 sobriety program” that would be used to replace imprisonment requirements.  He also offered an alternative proposal that would change the current requirements for ignition-interlock  device installations. Installation would be required within 10 days of the arrest and before drivers could collect their vehicle from impound.

Current state law forces all DUI offenders to equip their vehicle with a ignition-interlock device. If the new bill is passed, first time offenders would be omitted from the device requirement. Longer jail sentences are also included in the changes. Many law enforcement officials have voiced that many of the revisions are either too expensive or unrealistic.

The bill was drafted following two fatal alcohol-related car accidents in Seattle.


  • Bill not passed but under review.
  • DUI’s would become felony on 4th offense.
  • Longer jail time.
  • Harsher terms for multiple offenders.

Have you been charged with a DUI? Give us a call at 206-617-9173 or contact us online to get help today!

Sources: Seattle Times, Where Legislature Stands on Bills (The News Tribune), & As Special Sesson Looms, Many Issues Unresolved (The News Tribune)

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