Avoid a “blow and go” – Don’t get a DUI in Washington State

Washington State Driving Under the Influence (“DUI”) laws are constantly in a state of change. Over the past dozen years the Washington State Legislature has made a significant effort to crack down on drivers who operate a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol, drugs and/or the combination of both alcohol and drugs. From lowering the blood alcohol content (“BAC”) per se prong from .10 to .08, to reducing the amount of deferred prosecutions a person may be entitled to over the course of his lifetime, the Washington State Legislature has routinely tweaked our Washington State DUI laws.

One of the most recent changes in Washington State DUI law is the imposition of the ignition interlock device (“IID”) for anyone who is convicted of DUI in Washington State; Revised Code of Washington 46.20.710 discusses the legislative intent behind the law, and Revised Code of Washington 46.20.720 spells out the IID requirements in Washington State.

Washington State has chosen to use the IID as both a deterrent to, and as a penalty for, being convicted of DUI in Washington State; since January 2009, IID’s have been required upon any DUI conviction in Washington State. In reality IID’s are being required, or are otherwise authorized, in many instances where there has not yet been a conviction for DUI. For instance, many Washington State courts require IID’s as part of their pretrial conditions of release, and the Washington State Department of Licensing (“DOL”) authorizes the use of an Ignition Interlock License (“IIL”) if a person loses their privilege to drive as a result of a DOL administrative hearing loss arising out of any DUI allegation.

For those who need to drive for a living or who would otherwise be irreparably harmed by a license suspension, the recent IID laws are beneficial. The laws allow for an individual to continue driving during almost any Washington driver’s license suspension/ revocation period. The DOL requires that a suspended/ revoked driver file an IIL application and: (1) pay $100, (2) show proof that he has an IID on his car, and (3) show that he possesses SR-22 (high risk) insurance. Once that is done, the DOL approves the driver’s IIL application and the person can drive anywhere at any time so long as the car he is driving is equipped with a functioning IID. In addition to the benefit above, there is actually an exception to the IID/ IIL requirement for those driving a work vehicle, for work purposes during work hours, so long as their employer signifies his/her approval.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, not everyone will be happy with all of the Washington State IID/ IIL law changes. For example, those who are convicted of DUI in Washington State, the installation of the IID is now mandatory; previously the IID requirement was permissive, meaning one could get the IID in order to keep driving but was not required to obtain an IID. Now, even in instances where one wishes not to drive or doesn’t even own a car, installation of an IID may be considered mandatory and if the person fails to possess an IID may be considered out of compliance with court ordered conditions of sentence. Moreover, in cases where a person doesn’t own a car, he may be required to wear what is known as a SCRAM bracelet to detect alcohol consumption.

The Western Washington DUI attorneys that make up the DUI defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified Seattle DUI lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those charged with DUI in and around Western Washington and the greater Puget Sound region. The SQ team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the DUI allegation(s) are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible -success without limits.

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