Change is in the Air

SQ Attorneys

SQ Attorneys

Earlier this year the Washington State legislature made extensive changes to our Washington DUI statutes. The bulk of our impaired driving related statutes were changed via House Bill (HB) 1614, a bill introduced by Representative Roger Goodman, Chair of the House Public Safety Committee, and most changes, became effective on July 23, 2017.

In broad terms the changes are as follows:

1. Phlebotomist training for Police – thus making a new sub-group authorized to draw blood – forensic “Police” Phlebotomists, and the overall expansion of persons who may legally draw blood to anyone (under title 18) whose scope of practice includes venous blood draws and forensic phlebotomists and out-of-state persons who are authorized by that state. Liability limits for expanded categories of those who can draw blood in RCW 46.61.506.

2. Convicted persons must now wait ten years from their date of arrest to vacate an offense that is a deemed a prior offense under RCW 46.61.5055 (reckless driving, negligent driving first degree, etc.).

3. Mandatory booking when an officer knows the person already has a pending DUI charge.

4. IID vendors may now retain twenty-five cents per month of the $20 per month ignition interlock license fee paid to DOL.

5. There is now a medical exemption from the IID requirement tolling provision and requires 180 days (instead of four months) IID compliance prior to removal.

6. There are now more possible alternatives available if the person has a prior offense: (1) for one prior DUI with an under .15 BAC, 4 days jail and either 180 days EHM or 120 days 24/7 sobriety program in lieu of 30 days jail and 60 days EHM, and for one prior DUI with a .15 or higher or refusal, 6 days of jail and either 6 months of EHM or 120 days 24/7 sobriety program in lieu of 45 days of jail and 90 days EHM; (2) a court can consider pretrial 24/7 sobriety program as fulfilling a portion of sentence; and (3) a person can reduce their license revocation to one year if they complete six months of 24/7.

7. Tongue piercings are removed as a breath testing “foreign object”. in the oral cavity.

8. Elimination of refusal to submit to blood under RCW 46.20.308 as evidence in a criminal trial, but allows refusal evidence if the refusal is to warrant or exception to warrant requirement.

9. Expansion of license suspensions for those who FTA (fail to appear) to those with ‘notice’ rather than those ‘served’.

10. DUI fees increased by $50.

One thing is definitely clear, 2017 brought many new impaired driving law changes. Some of these changes may help a seasoned Seattle DUI defense attorney defend his client, while others are sure to make the defense of his client more challenging than ever. If you or a loved one is accused of DUI, you should immediately consult with a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer. A qualified and respected Seattle DUI lawyer, among other things, can quite possibly save the aggrieved person thousands of dollars in court and insurance fees, the extent of loss of privilege to drive, and the amount of jail time to be served. We have said it before and will say it again, Washington DUI laws are far too complicated for any ol’ attorney to handle. Be smart and consult with a qualified and skilled Seattle DUI attorney when arrested for an alcohol and/or drug related DUI in Washington State.

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