Senate Panel Weighs New Felony DUI Bill

Under current law, a DUI is a felony only if there are four or more prior offenses within 10 years. According to the Seattle PI, reducing that threshold was an idea that lawmakers considered last year but ultimately decided would be too expensive. The Senate Law & Justice Committee could vote on Senate bill 6090 in the coming days.

A fiscal note has not yet been put together for what the measure would cost, but officials last year, when considering lowering the felony threshold to the third or fourth conviction, had said that lowering it to the third conviction would cost about $200 million for construction of a new prison to confine the number of drunken drivers.

Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist told the committee that the measure would “send a strong message that we need to take drunk driving seriously, especially repeat drunk drivers.”

Under last year’s law, a driver suspected of a second impaired driving offense faces mandatory arrest and will have an interlock device installed on their vehicle within five days of being charged. It also set up a pilot program, to be conducted in Spokane, Chelan, and Thurston Counties and the cities of Kent and Centralia, to conduct daily alcohol monitoring of anyone convicted twice under the DUI law.

If you or someone you know have been stopped, questioned, or arrested for driving under the influence, the first call you should make is to a qualified DUI defense attorney. We are available 24/7 on our on-call attorney line at (253) 217-4849