Having an excellent DUI Defense in Washington may have just got more important as on On March 31, 2016, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill that will double the maximum fine and prison sentence for a felony-level driving under the influence conviction. Earlier this month, he also raised the punishments for vehicular assaults and vehicular homicides which are caused by driving under the influence.
Under House Bill 2280, the offense of felony DUI will becomes Class B Felony in the State of Washington with a maximum possible sentence of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. Those convicted will also face supervision by the Department of Corrections for up to five years and an automatic revocation of their driver’s licenses for up to a decade. The bill was unanimously passed in both the State House and Senate. A companion bill in the Senate, Senate Bill 5105 was aimed at making a fourth DUI charge a felony, but it died on March 10 after it failed to be advanced to the House floor for a vote.
Under the previous law, the charge of felony DUI was a Class C felony, punishable by a maximum of five years in prison and a $10,000 penalty. A person’s fifth DUI within the span of 10 years is a felony, but the first four are gross misdemeanors. Also, a DUI for someone previously convicted of vehicular assault or vehicular homicide while intoxicated is also chargeable as a felony-level offense, regardless of how many previous misdemeanor DUIs they may have had.
In a related development, the Governor and the Legislature also increased the penalties for vehicular homicides caused by driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Under Substitute Senate Bill 6219, signed by Gov. Inslee on March 11, 2016, the sentencing range for that offense changes from a range of 21-27 months, up to 78-102 months – similar to the current penalty for vehicular homicide while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The new law also allows for imposing a lesser sentence if the person has committed no other previous serious traffic offenses and the longer sentence would clearly be excessive.
Washington’s new set of DUI and vehicular assault and homicide laws are some of the toughest in the country. According to a press release by the Governor’s Office, Gov. Inslee is pleased with the new law. “While this [bill] doesn’t do everything we need or everything I hoped, this is an important step to saving more lives. I look forward to continuing our efforts to crack down on those who choose to endanger the lives and livelihoods of others by choosing to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”
The law firm of Lustick, Kaiman & Madrone believes that everyone should have an excellent DUI defense and that all citizens accused of any crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. We extend high quality and professional legal defense services to anyone accused of a wide array of criminal offenses, including DUI, vehicular assault, and vehicular homicide. Our normal coverage territories include Whatcom County, San Juan County, and Skagit County.
We offer a free one-hour consultation for DUI defense and one of our lawyers will appear for free at your first court hearing. Please call (360) 685-4221 to schedule a meeting with one of our defense team members. Or reach us through our web info wiki here: http://www.lustick.com/free_case_evaluation