Seattle drivers who are convicted for drunk driving will face stiffer penalties now that Washington’s new DUI law has gone into effect as of Sept. 28. Senate Bill 5912 was passed unanimously by both the Senate and House and signed by Governor Inslee earlier in the year. A series of fatal accidents involving alcohol and drug-impaired drivers led political leaders to reevaluate DUI penalties in Washington.

The law takes a particularly unforgiving stance when it comes to repeat DUI offenders. Under the new rules, second offense drunk drivers will remain in custody until they see a judge. They will also have to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle within five days of being charged. Repeat offenders will also be required to wear special devices to monitor their alcohol consumption. If these devices detect alcohol in the individual’s system, they could face up to six months in prison.

Other provisions of the new law include tougher sentences for those convicted of DUI while children are present in the car or when driving against the flow of traffic. Additional funds are also being made available to local municipalities to allow them to prosecute drunk driving cases more quickly. Political leaders add that there is likely to be an increase in the number of roadside sobriety checkpoints.

The new law is an indication that authorities in Washington take DUI offenses very seriously. A DUI defense attorney may assist their clients by challenging Breathalyzer results or questioning the conclusions drawn from a field sobriety test. The accuracy of police reports or the probable cause for being stopped by police could also be called into question.

Source: Q13 Fox News, “New DUI law in effect starting at midnight “, Dana Rebik, September 27, 2013