State Lawmakers Toughen DUI Laws

State lawmakers are working to increase penalties and fines for those who drive under the influence of alcohol and drugs, or commit vehicular homicide.

Three bills that deal with drunk and reckless driving moved out of the House and are now in the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration. The bills got their first public hearing in committee Tuesday.

Under current law, first-time offenders convicted of vehicular homicide may face a jail sentence of about 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 years.

House Bill 2216, supported by King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, would more than double the jail time to 6 1/2 to 8 1/2 years.

Satterberg said that although current jail sentence is set between 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 years, most offenders serve only 20 to 27 months for good behavior.

By increasing jail time for violators, proponents of HB 2216, sponsored by Christopher Hurst, D-Enumclaw, say that they hope to prove to the public that they’re taking drunk driving seriously.

Joan Davis of Port Orchard, said her daughter Jessica Torres was killed by a drunk driver in 2008. She said the driver was going 79 in a 35 mph zone. Although the driver was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in jail, he served less than two years, she said.

Another bill, HB 2302, sponsored by Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, would provide protection for more children found in a vehicle with a parent or guardian under the influence.

Current law requires law enforcement officers to notify Child Protective Services if a child under 13 years old is in the vehicle when arresting an individual for DUI. Goodman’s bill would increase the age limit to 16 years.

The bill also would increase the length of time that someone convicted of a DUI-related gross misdemeanor or felony must use a breath alcohol ignition interlock device. Currently, offenders are required to use the device for at least 60 days. The bill would extend the time period to six months.

Goodman is sponsoring another bill, HB 2443, that would require the use of breath alcohol ignition interlock devices for those originally charged with DUI but convicted of reckless driving.

The bill would also amend the term “drug” to include any chemicals that may be inhaled or ingested for intoxicating or hallucinatory effects, such as benzine and nitric oxide.

Additionally, the bill would allow authorities to administer an alcohol breath or blood test on a felony DUI suspect without the suspect’s consent.

Another one of Goodman’s bills, HB 2405, would allow a court to order anyone http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifconvicted of vehicular homicide to help financially support the victim’s minor children. A hearing on that bill is schedule Wednesday.
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It should go without saying that a DUI arrest can have significant implications on one’s personal and professional life. Thus, it is imperative that a person arrested for DUI in Washington State immediately retain a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer or a qualified Bellevue DUI lawyer. In many instances, a qualified Seattle DUI lawyer can significantly reduce the impact that a DUI charge will have on an individual’s goals and aspirations. The right Seattle DUI attorney will be worthttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifh his/her weight in gold when protecting a person’s rights, freedom and future.

If you or a loved one is faced with a DUI charge in Western Washington, you deserve the assistance of a reputable and qualified Seattle DUI attorney who will relentlessly defend your case. You deserve a Seattle DUI lawyer who has an intimate understanding of Washington DUI laws and the legal issues that could win your case. You deserve a Seattle DUI attorney who is not afraid to stand up against the prosecution and aggressively fight for your rights and interests. SQ Attorneys is the right Western Washington DUI law firm for the job. Call for a free initial consultation – (206) 441.0900 (Seattle); (425) 998-8384 (Eastside) – it will be the best decision you make all day.

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WA Supreme Court Throws Out a Man’s Conviction for DUI

Washington’s Supreme Court has thrown out a man’s conviction for drunken driving, saying the state never proved that he was advised in Spanish about his right to an independent blood test.

Jose Matilde Morales caused an accident when he rolled through a stop sign in Lewis County in 2004. At a hospital, a state trooper asked an interpreter to read him his rights in Spanish, including his right to an independent blood test. But at his trial, the interpreter was never called to testify, and the state never proved that Morales actually received and understood the warning. Morales was convicted of hit-and-run, DUI and reckless driving.

He challenged his DUI and reckless driving convictions, saying the state-administered blood test should not have been allowed into evidence. The Supreme Court agreed Thursday in an 8-1 decision. Justice Charles Wiggins wrote for the majority that the right to an independent blood test is an important part of a defendant’s ability to defend himself at trial.

In instances involving a DUI arrest it is critical to retain a reputable and qualified Seattle DUI lawyer. The right Seattle DUI attorney will be worth his/her weight in gold when protecting your rights, freedom and future. The Seattle DUI attorneys that make up the litigation team of SQ Attorneys are dedicated to defending those accused of drunk driving. They have the experience, knowledge and resources to successfully defend your case. Unlike other law firms that practice in many areas of the law, SQ Attorneys is focused on criminal defense representation with an emphasis on DUI defense in Western Washington.

If you or a loved one is faced with a DUI charge in Western Washington, you deserve the assistance of a reputable and qualified Seattle DUI attorney who will relentlessly defend your case. You deserve a Seattle DUI lawyer who has an intimate understanding of Washington DUI laws and the legal issues that could win your case. You deserve a Seattle DUI attorney who is not afraid to stand up against the prosecution and aggressively fight for your rights and interests. SQ Attorneys is the right Western Washington DUI law firm for the job. Call for a free initial consultation – (206) 441.0900 (Seattle); (425) 998-8384 (Eastside) – it will be the best decision you make all day.