Washington state senate bill seeks changes to DUI laws

The Washington state legislature has been working on toughening Driving Under the Influence (DUI) laws. Senate Bill 5912 seeks to modify provisions of existing laws related to driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

SB 5912 proposes to increase the penalty for DUI with a child in the vehicle, increase mandatory sentencing, create aggravating circumstance for driving the wrong way while intoxicated, prohibit DUI courts from deferring sentences and, one of the bills most prominent provisions, is a requirement that a person arrested on suspicion of DUI after a previous DUI conviction be charged within 48 hours.

SB 5912 also creates a pilot program which provides for 24 hour monitoring of DUI offenders in two cities.

The changes in the law were proposed after two horrific DUI accidents in which three people were killed and two others critically injured. In both of these accidents, the DUI driver had been arrested for prior DUIs in the months prior to their fatal car accident.

In the one accident, Morgan F. Williams of Seattle was killed on her way to work by a DUI driver who was driving the wrong way on SR 520 in Seattle at 5:30am. Michael A. Robertson has pleaded guilty to Vehicular Homicide in this case and faces a 10 year prison sentence and for a previous DUI charge in Tacoma.

In another Seattle drunk driving accident, Mark W. Mullan was driving drunk when he struck four people in a Seattle crosswalk. Killed in this accident were Judy and Dennis Shulte who were in Seattle spending time with their son, daughter-in-law and newborn grandson. Their daughter-in-law and 10-day-old grandson were critically injured in the accident. After the accident, it was discovered that Mullen was arrested for DUI just three months prior to the accident that killed the Shultes and again just two months prior to this fatal accident.

Many people are critical of the legislature for not going to far enough in providing penalties for DUI drivers. Some are seeking a mandatory prison sentence after a first conviction or banning driving altogether after a DUI conviction.

The Farber Law Group is a personal injury law firm serving car accident victims in Bellevue, Washington and the surrounding areas including Seattle, Kirkland, Issaquah, Redmond, Bothell, Federal Way and Redmond.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, you may be file a lawsuit in civil court seeking compensation for your damages. Herbert Farber, the firm founder, has more than 30 years experience representing car accident victims and their families. We offer a free and confidential initial consultation to discuss your case. Call us today TOLL FREE at 1-800-244-9087 or submit our convenient contact form.

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