Washington lawmakers have recently passed legislation to change the state’s law on felony DUIs. Under the new measure, which was approved as part of several criminal justice bills, drivers will now face felony charges for a fourth DUI. Under previous state law, felony charges were not levied in multiple offense DUI cases until a driver’s fifth arrest.
The new felony DUI law, passed under State Bill 5037, falls in line with increasing nationwide law enforcement efforts to crack down on impaired driving, including driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, and drugs. Although similar initiatives to toughen Washington DUI laws failed to pass in recent years, SB 5037 was approved on Thursday, April 20th by a nearly 75 vote margin.
Here are some important facts you should know about the new felony DUI law:
- SB 5037 makes a fourth driving under the influence offense a felony. This means drivers will face felony charges and penalties if they are arrested for a fourth DUI within a 10-year time period.
- All DUI offenses and comparable out-of-state offenses within a 10-year time frame will be considered prior offenses.
- A fourth DUI will be punishable as a Class B felony.
- According to state data, close to 200 misdemeanor DUI cases annually would become felonies when the law takes effect.
Felony DUIs are without question the most serious DUI offense a driver can face. As the highest offense level in our criminal justice system, felonies pose substantial criminal penalties and collateral consequences, many of which can alter one’s life. This includes mandatory minimum sentences in a state correctional facility and the limitations that accompany a felony record.
As a Class B felony, a fourth DUI will be punishable by:
- Up to 10 years in state prison
- Fines up to $20,000
When you compound these criminal penalties with driver’s license revocations, supervised release, elevated insurance rates, limitations with employment, housing, loans, or education, and other long-term consequences, it becomes clear that a felony conviction can have a profound impact on one’s future. This is why it becomes essential that anyone facing a felony DUI be intent on speaking immediately with a proven DUI defense attorney.
At DUI Heroes, our legal team has the experience and resources to fight for clients when they need it most, especially amid felony allegations. This includes felony charges for a multiple offense, vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, and having a prior felony DUI conviction at any time in the past. Our firm leverages decades of combined experience, the insight of a former prosecutor, and award-winning legal work in every case we handle. It is why we have been able to continually secure positive case results for our clients.
We understand that felony charges put everything at stake, and we fight aggressively to create effective defense strategies that can protect our clients’ freedoms and futures and secure the best possible resolution – whether through case dismissals, reduced charges, or alternative sentencing options. If you or a loved one has been charged with a misdemeanor or felony DUI anywhere in Snohomish County, King County, or the surrounding areas of Washington, you can be confident in your decision to trust our top rated team.
Discuss your case personally with a Seattle DUI attorney from DUI Heroes. Contact us for a FREE consultation.