DUI Law Mods

SQ Attorneys

SQ Attorneys

Earlier this year the Washington State Legislature passed House Bill 1493. The Bill creates some rather significant changes to Washington’s DUI laws. The modifications to the law include changes to Felony DUI charges, Sentencing alternatives for felony DUI convictions, and changes to deferred prosecutions. Generally, DUI’s are considered gross misdemeanor offenses that carry a maximum jail sentence of less than a year a fine of up to $5,000, a loss of privilege to drive, enhanced insurance requirements and a need to have an ignition interlock installed on one’s car. Because a DUI is a gross misdemeanor (not a felony), one who is convicted of a DUI doesn’t lose their right to vote, the right to possess a firearm or even the opportunity to hold elected office. A DUI, however, can be a felony offense if the person charged has been convicted, in their lifetime, of a DUI at least three times within a certain period of time. Previously, that look-back period was 10 years. HB 1493 expands the look-back period by 5 additional years to 15. The Legislature also expanded sentencing alternatives for DUI’s. The Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative (DOSA) is a long-standing fixture of the law that allows a court to send someone to treatment instead of prison. HB 1493 makes this alternative available to those convicted of a felony DUI offense, but only if it’s their first felony conviction. Finally, HB 1493 additionally changed how deferred prosecutions work for first-time DUI offenders. A deferred prosecution is a program where a person charged with a misdemeanor crime can ask a court to seek treatment for a substance use disorder or mental health issues. If a person completes their Deferred Prosecution program, their DUI will be dismissed. Previously, a person was only permitted to petition for a deferred prosecution DUI one time in their life. HB 1493 expands the deferred prosecution opportunity by allowing a second deferred prosecution for a subsequent offense. However, there is a caveat to this rule. If a person charged with a first-time DUI chooses not to defer that prosecution, and is accused of a subsequent DUI, that person is only ever allowed to request one deferred prosecution.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a DUI charge, immediately contact a Seattle DUI Attorney. A DUI lawyer is not going to judge you and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle DUI Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties and can help direct people on how to best deal with their DUI charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So, it should go without saying that someone cited for a DUI gross misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle DUI Lawyer as soon as possible. DUI charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a DUI in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle DUI Lawyer. SQ Attorneys can be reached at (425) 359-3791 and/or (206) 441-0900.

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