Ignition That – SHB 2742

It seems that the Washington State Legislature makes changes to our DUI laws virtually every year. Year 2011 is going to be no different. Substitute House Bill (“SHB”) 2742 makes significant changes to Washington State DUI laws by modifying our ignition interlock device statute. Washington State’s current ignition interlock statute(s) provide that during a license suspension that occurs as a result of a DUI arrest or conviction, a driver may drive a vehicle only if the car operated is equipped with a functioning ignition interlock device. Moreover, to obtain his ability to drive, the driver is required to obtain an “Ignition Interlock License” (“IIL”). The IIL permits the driver to operate a motor vehicle so long as: (1) the vehicle is equipped with a functioning ignition interlock device, and (2) the driver has high risk (“SR22”) insurance in place.

Over the years it has been determined that although Washington’s ignition interlock device laws have worked moderately well, there are a few “kinks” still to be worked out. For instance, although there is an exception to the ignition interlock device requirement for employer owned vehicles that are driven during work hours and for work purposes (i.e. the vehicle driven doesn’t need to be equipped with an ignition interlock device), there are plenty of times when the “exception” simply misses its mark. In other words, the exception should be applicable, but isn’t. This happens, for example, when a business person travels out of town and needs to get from location to location via a rental car. The person is doing business for his boss and the work is being done during work hours, but the rental car is not “owned” by his boss and thus the “work exception” does not apply. To fix this problem, SHB 2742 (effective January 1, 2011) eliminates the ignition interlock requirement for vehicles owned, leased, or rented by a person’s employer, and on those vehicles whose care and/or maintenance is the temporary responsibility of the employer, and driven at the direction of the person’s employer as a requirement of the employment during work hours. Another example where SHB 2742 has been drafted to fix a few “kinks” is where someone is convicted of driving under the influence of drugs, not alcohol. A drug DUI conviction carries with it exactly the same penalties as an alcohol-based DUI conviction, including license suspension. Current law, however, does not allow a driver convicted of a drug DUI to apply for an ignition interlock license. Thus, drivers convicted of drug DUI are prevented from driving anywhere, for any purpose, during the period of license suspension. SHB 2742 fixes this by permitting a driver convicted of a drug DUI to apply for an ignition interlock license and drive under the same terms that apply to those convicted of an alcohol-based DUI.

As they say, those who giveth can taketh away, and you can only imagine that the Washington State Legislature was not going to simply “ease” the stringency of our Washington DUI laws. To that end, SHB 2742 complicates an individual’s right to remove an ignition interlock device when authorized. Effective January 1, 2011, the law will prevent the removal of the ignition interlock device, despite a driver having served the statutorily required ignition interlock time, unless the Department of Licensing has on record a declaration from the ignition interlock provider that states that none of the following have occurred within the previous four months: (1) an attempt to start the vehicle with a breath alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more, (2) Failure to take or pass any required retest, and (3) Failure of the person to appear at the ignition interlock device vendor when required for maintenance, repair, calibration, monitoring, inspection, or replacement of the device. To say the least, an ignition interlock device, like any device, is not perfect and can “act up”. Unfortunately, a driver subjected to an ignition interlock obligation is at the mercy of not only the quality of the ignition interlock device itself, but also the ignition interlock provider he chooses. So best to choose a reputable device and provider if you are ever required to drive a vehicle equipped with a functioning ignition interlock device.

Because of the significant implications a DUI arrest and/or conviction can have, it is imperative that a person charged with DUI in Washington State retain a qualified Seattle DUI attorney or a qualified Bellevue DUI lawyer in order to best minimize potential legal consequences and protect their rights and interests. The Seattle criminal attorneys that make up the criminal 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 Western Washington. The 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 allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible.

If you or a loved one is cited for, or charged with, DUI in King County, Pierce County, Snohomish County, Kitsap County, Thurston County or one of the following cities or towns: Algona, Bellevue, Black Diamond, Bonney Lake, Bothell, Burien, Des Moines, Duvall, Edmonds, Enumclaw, Everett, Federal Way, fife, Hunts Point, Issaquah, Kenmore, Kent, Kirkland, Lake Forest Park, Lake Stevens, Lakewood, Lynnwood, Maple Valley, Marysville, Medina, Mercer Island, Milton, Monroe, Mountlake Terrace, New Castle, Normandy Park, North Bend, Olympia, Puyallup, Redmond, Renton, Sammamish, Sea Tac, Seattle, Shoreline, Snohomish, Sumner, Tacoma, Tukwila, University Place, and/or Woodinville, or any other city or town in Western Washington, call The Criminal Defense Team of SQ Attorneys at (206) 441-0900 for an initial free consultation.

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