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DUI Statute Updates 2017

DUI Statutory Changes 2017

Proposed changes to the laws pertaining to DUI offenses are considered every year in the State legislature.  It's important to keep in mind that proposed changes to these laws are being considered in the 2018 legislative session.  With that in mind, some of the most recent 2017 changes in Washington law that pertain to Driving Under the Influence are listed below.

Ignition Interlock Restrictions Amended to Require 180 Consecutive Days without Violation but Allows a Medical Exemption to IID, as Determined by DOL. 

Pursuant to RCW 46.20.720(4), IID restrictions (except where imposed as a condition of pretrial release) remain in effect until DOL receives a declaration from the person's IID vendor certifying that there have been no violations in the 180 consecutive days prior to the date of release. The violations are set out in RCW 46.20.720(4). The tolling provision does not apply if the person receives a medical exemption determination from DOL.

Sentencing changes for 2017 for persons with one prior offense within 7 years under RCW 46.61.5055(2).

State law was amended in 2017 to allow an alternative sentence to the mandatory 30 (or 45) days imprisonment followed by mandatory 60 (or 90) days EHM for persons convicted of DUI or Physical control with one prior offense within 7 years.

In situations where the individual had an alcohol concentration of less than .15 or no Test (but not because of a refusal) In lieu of the mandatory term of 30 days imprisonment and 60 days EHM, the court may order a minimum of four days in jail and either one hundred eighty (180) days of EHM or one hundred twenty-day period of 24/7 sobriety program monitoring pursuant to RCW 36.28A.300 through 36.28A.390. The court may consider the offender's pretrial 24/7 sobriety program monitoring as fulfilling a portion of post-trial sentencing.

In situations where the individual had an alcohol concentration of at least .15 or no breath test because of a refusal In lieu of the mandatory 45 day term of imprisonment followed by 90 days of EHM, the court may order a minimum of six days in jail and either six months of EHM or one hundred twenty-day (120) period of 24/7 sobriety program monitoring pursuant to RCW 36.28A.300 through 36.28A.390. The court may consider the offender's pretrial 24/7 sobriety program monitoring as fulfilling a portion of post-trial sentencing.

The mandatory minimum jail, fine and electronic home detention are determined by the statutory penalties as they existed on the date the defendant committed the offense, not the date of conviction. See State v. Ross, 152 Wn.2d 220, 95 P.3d 1225 (2004); State v. McClendon, 131 Wn.2d 853, 935 P.2d 1334, cert. denied, 118 S.Ct. 624 (1977). The DUI sentencing statute applies prospectively only. See City of Richland v. Michel, 89 Wn. App 764, 950 P.2d 10 (1998)

Prohibition on Vacation of Conviction under RCW 9.96.060 for DUI and Physical Control In 2017.

The legislature added further restrictions under RCW 9.96.060 on vacating convictions for alcohol related driving offenses. The Court may not vacate the record of conviction for the following: 1. DUI: RCW 46.61.502; 2. physical control: RCW 46.61.504; 3. operating a railroad, etc. while intoxicated: RCW 9.91.020; 4. An offense that is considered a “prior offense” under RCW 46.61.5055 and: a. the applicant has had a subsequent alcohol or drug violation within ten years of the date of arrest for the prior offense; or b. less than ten years has elapsed since the date of the arrest for the prior offense. 2017 Wash. Laws ch. 336, Sec. 2. 2017

Amendments to Mandatory Custodial Arrest for DUI or Physical Control under RCW 10.31.100

RCW 10.31.100(16) requires a police officer to arrest and take into custody, upon probable cause, a person who has violated RCW 46.61.502 or 46.61.504, when the officer has knowledge that the person has a prior offense, as defined by RCW 46.61.5055, within ten years.

In 2017, the statute was amended to also require mandatory custodial arrest when the officer “has knowledge, based on a review of the information available to the officer at Driving Under the Influence (DUI) the time of arrest, that the person is charged with or is awaiting arraignment for an offense that would qualify as a prior offense as defined in RCW 46.61.5055 if it were a conviction.” When a person is taken into custody on arrest under these circumstances, the person must be kept in custody, until released by a judicial officer on bail, personal recognizance, or court order. This language creates a “no bail” hold under these circumstances.

Persons who may Withdraw Blood outside the State in Accordance with RCW 46.61.506

When a blood test is performed outside the state of Washington, the withdrawal of blood to determine its alcohol or drug content may be performed by any person who is authorized by the out-of-state jurisdiction to perform venous blood draws. RCW 46.61.506(5). 2017 Wash. Laws, ch. 336, sec. 7

Amendments to Felony DUI Law In 2017

The legislature amended the felony DUI law to make it a class B felony and reduce the predicate prior offenses, as defined in RCW 46.61.5055, from four priors to three within 10 years. 2017 Wash. Law, chapter 335 sec. 1. Statutory Elements of Felony DUI Law are:

A person commits the crime of felony DUI or physical control if the person:

  1. Has three or more prior offenses, as defined in RCW 46.61.5055, within ten (10) years; or
  2. The person has ever previously been convicted of vehicular homicide while under the influence of alcohol (RCW 46.61.520(1)(a)); or
  3. The person has ever previously been convicted of vehicular assault while under the influence of alcohol (RCW 46.61. 522(1)(b)); or
  4. The person has a previous conviction for a felony DUI or physical control.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.