2012 Impaired Driving Legislation Update

Impaired Driving Legislation Update

Washington Defense Magazine

May 2012

By Patricia Fulton

SSHB 2216:  Increasing Penalties for Vehicular Homicide.

  • SSHB increases the seriousness level of vehicular homicide, driving while under the influence prong, from a level 9 to a level 11.  This increase changes the standard penalty range for someone with an offender score of zero from 31 to 41 months up to 78 to 102 months.
  • Effective date: June 7, 2012.

SB 6030: Addressing License Suspension Clerical Errors.

  • Enacted to address the problem of drivers who face license suspension years after a conviction due to clerical or court errors in notifying the Department of Licensing of a conviction.  With this change, if a license suspension or revocation has been delayed three or more years due to a court or clerical error, the court has clear authority to order that the Department not implement the suspension or revocation.
  • Effective date:  June 7, 2012.

ESSB 6150:  Addressing the Driver's License, Permit, and Identicard System, Including the Administration of a Facial Recognition Matching System.

  • Increases the fee to request a Department of Licensing administrative hearing under 46.20.308 from $200 to $375.
  • Effective October 1, 2012.

ESHB 2302: Concerning Being Under the Influence with a Child in the Vehicle.

  • Requires law enforcement to clearly document when a driver is arrested for driving while under the influence or physical control with a child passenger in the vehicle.
  • Increases the circumstances in which law enforcement are required to notify Child Protective Services to include when a child passenger is in a vehicle driven by a sibling or a half sibling.
  • Amends RCW 46.61.5055 to increase the age at which a passenger is defined as a “child” from under 13 to under 16 and increases penalties:
    • Mandatory minimum fines increased if child passenger.
    • Ignition interlock device requirement increased to six months if child passenger.
    • Adds a twelve month sentence enhancement to the standard range for vehicular assault and vehicular homicide under the DUI prong for each child passenger in the vehicle.
    • Effective date: June 7, 2012.

SSHB 2443: Increasing Accountability of Persons Who Drive Impaired.

  • Extends the authorization to create driving while under the influence courts to municipalities.
  • Requires sentence recommendations, plea agreements, and judgment and sentence forms to  be retained as public records for all felony driving while under the influence and physical control convictions.
  • Eliminates felony DUI and physical control convictions from crimes eligible to be vacated.
  • Authorizes superior court to impose 60 months supervision on DUI and physical control convictions.
  • Increases the waiting period to vacate a conviction which is defined as a prior in RCW 46.61.5055.  Such a prior conviction cannot be vacated if the defendant has a subsequent drug or alcohol related violation within ten years of arrest.
  • Increases the allowable cap on emergency response fees to from $1000 to $2500.
  • Authorizes law enforcement to obtain a mandatory blood or breath test in any felony DUI or physical control arrest.
  • Adds out of state deferred prosecutions to the list of things that count as prior offenses in RCW 46.61.5055.  An out of state deferred prosecution will only count as a prior if it is the equivalent of a 10.05 deferred prosecution including the requirement of drug or alcohol dependency treatment.
  • Adds the use of a chemical inhaled or ingested for its intoxicating or hallucinatory effects to the negligent driving in the first degree statute and to the definition of drug used in RCW 46.61.500 to 46.61.535.
  • Changes how drivers convicted of reckless driving when the original charge was DUI or physical control will have to deal with license issues:
    • Drivers will now be given a day for day credit toward the reckless driving suspension from any administration suspension which resulted from the same incident.
    • Extends eligibility for the Ignition Interlock Licensee for a suspension as a result of a reckless driving conviction reduced from a DUI or physical control.  This means a driver will not need to apply for a second occupational restricted license during this suspension.
    • Changes to Ignition Interlock License and Ignition Interlock Device Requirements:
      • Extends eligibility for the ignition interlock license to all Washington residents even if they were not previously licensed in Washington or elsewhere.  The Department of Licensing can require such a driver to take any applicable tests and have any other applicable restricted license.
      • Courts are no longer required to order a defendant convicted of DUI or physical control to apply for or obtain an ignition interlock license.  Courts must just order that defendants comply with all Department of Licensing requirements and restrictions.   Courts are no longer required (but still have the discretion) to order “other alcohol monitoring” if they order abstinence.
      • Limits employer vehicle ignition interlock device exception by excluding vehicles driven exclusively for commuting back and forth to work and by only the restricted driver.
      • Increases eligibility for financial assistance toward the costs of the ignition interlock device for indigent drivers who are restricted under RCW 46.20.720.  Non-indigent drivers will now need to pay an additional $20 per month into the fund while restricted under RCW 46.20.720.
      • Courts are now clearly authorized to convert mandatory minimum electronic home monitoring penalties on a second or subsequent DUI or physical control conviction to jail time at a fifteen to one ratio.
      • Effective date: August 1, 2012.

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