There is no doubt that when drivers violate DWI laws, dangerous accidents can occur. In the wake of such accidents, some state legislators are cracking down on drunk driving by strengthening DWI laws. In Washington State, two recent major accidents have prompted Washington State Governor Jay Inslee to introduce legislation that is the first of its kind.
The accidents that prompted Governor Inslee to introduce the bipartisan-backed legislation occurred earlier this year. The Columbian reports that the first accident, which occurred in March, left a ten-day old infant and his mother critically injured and killed his grandparents. The allegedly drunk driver should have had an interlock device attached to his truck, but did not at the time of the accident. The driver was charged with vehicular homicide and assault, and pled not guilty to those charges this week. In the second accident, which occurred this month, a woman was killed when a suspected drunk driver drove the wrong way down a highway. The driver was charged with vehicular homicide.
Governor Inslee’s response to these tragic accidents is aggressive. The Seattle Times reports that House Bill 2030 and Senate Bill 5912 would impose landmark enhancements to DWI laws, through several proposals. First, the legislation would require that allegedly drunk drivers be arrested and charged much quicker than they currently are, and that their vehicles be fitted with interlocking devices before being returned to them. The Seattle Times notes that under current procedure in Washington, it can take months for prosecutors to lay DWI charges, and orders to install interlocking devices often go ignored with impunity. Secondly, the legislation would impose a six month mandatory minimum jail sentence for second offenses, and a one-year mandatory minimum for third offenses. The legislation would allow for those convicted on their second or third DWI offense to forgo the jail time only by submitting to a rigid sobriety program and monitoring by a transdermal device that would detect alcohol consumption. Lastly, the legislation would ban third-time DWI convicts from purchasing alcohol for ten years. The only other state that has imposed such strict sanctions against those charged with DWI offenses is Alaska, and there the ban was much less specific. The decade-long ban would require the creation of a special type of driver’s license, and for every liquor or beer serving establishment to diligently check every license, no matter the age of the patron.
Though the legislation is backed by both sides of the aisle, some Washington State legislators remain skeptical. Some legislators are concerned about cost, while others have introduced their own legislation targeting DWI violations. With the end of the Session drawing near, the fate of HB 2030 and SB 5912 is uncertain. Governor’s Inslee’s Bills are currently set for a joint hearing before the House and Senate this week.
DWI laws are subject to change in any state. If you have been charged with violating DWI laws in New York, you should seek the assistance of an experienced attorney immediately. Call Nave DWI Defense Attorneys in New York today, for a free consultation at 877-418-0075.