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Washington increases penalties for repeat DUI offenders

Washington recently passed a new bill that will impact individuals charged and convicted of driving under the influence in the state. Washington lawmakers passed legislation that will impose stricter penalties and regulations for drivers convicted of DUIs.

The House of Representatives voted unanimously to pass the measure and the bill is awaiting the governor's signature before it becomes law. The bill will require drivers who are charged with their second DUI offense to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle within five days of facing charges. 

The new measure also creates a program that allows the state to monitor offender's daily alcohol amount. This testing will be required for drivers who have two DUI convictions in Washington.

Lawmakers say that the new bill is very tough and is supposed to help crackdown on repeat DUI offenders in an effort to reduce the number of people driving under the influence in the state. Lawmakers say that the new requirements hold DUI offenders more accountable for their actions by making them install an ignition interlock device and undergo daily alcohol monitoring.

The original bill included a proposal to increase the mandatory jail time for repeat DUI offenders in Washington but that requirement was removed from the final bill because it would have been too expensive.

The requirements of the bill that is waiting for the governor's signature significantly increases the penalties for repeat DUI offenders. Installing ignition interlock devices are not cheap and offenders are typically required to pay the monthly fee to use the ignition interlock devices in their vehicles. In addition to having to install these devices, undergoing daily alcohol monitoring can be a hassle and may even make it difficult for someone to continue living their same lifestyle.

These new requirements can impact a person's pocketbook as well as their current employment or future job opportunities. While it looks like the law will be signed by the governor, individuals who are arrested for a DUI should contact a criminal defense attorney right away to protect their rights as the new requirements are stipulated for people convicted of their second DUI offense but not for a person's first offense or if the charges are dismissed.

Source: Oregon Live, "Washington state legislature votes unanimously to approve new DUI rules," June 27, 2013

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