House Bill 1276 is currently being considered in the Washington State Legislature amidst some controversy. The bill, sponsored by State Rep. Roger Goodman, is aimed at making numerous changes to how the state handles DUI offenders—including letting some repeat defendants drivers forgo an interlock ignition device by signing a sworn statement to stay off the road while they wait for their trial.
According to The Seattle Times , under the new bill, repeat DUI offenders could sign a statement and submit to alcohol monitoring instead having a costly pretrial IID installed in their vehicle. Supporters of the bill claim that the new measure will allow "flexibility" for judges in DUI cases, but others are not confident an honor system would work.
Dan Schulte, whose parents were killed and his family hurt by a repeat DUI offender awaiting trial, spoke to media, asserting that even those who are ordered to get IIDs don't always comply and continue to endanger others. The driver who harmed Schulte's family was driving a truck that did not have a court-ordered IID installed at the time.
State Rep. Goodman has also admitted that he's received pressure from both law enforcement and MADD about making changes to the bill. Still, he maintains that House Bill 1276 properly monitors repeat offenders with proposed alcohol monitoring and an "interlock notation" on offender driver's licenses to help police quickly identify if the sworn nondriving statement has been violated. Opponents of the bill point out that not only is a reliable alcohol monitoring program not in place, but that a license notation does not keep the offender from driving.
Significant Skepticism About House Bill 1276
Other provisions of the bill address marijuana open container laws and the increase of 24/7 electronic monitoring for repeat offenders. However, few believe that the bill is ready to be passed—including State Rep. Goodman, who admits that the language of the bill is not finalized.
Whether or not the IID sections of the bill will be amended is unclear, but it may be difficult to argue that less IIDs will truly protect the public. As The Seattle Times points out, Seattle files more than 1,000 DUI cases a year, 40 percent of which involve repeat offenders—who could be suffering from alcohol dependency.
If you have been charged with a DUI offense, then it is critical that you act quickly. At the Law Office of Mark W. Garka, PLLC, I have devoted my entire practice to the defense and advocacy of Washington State DUI defense. As a former prosecutor, I know how the state establishes and tries these crimes and-- more importantly—how to effectively counter those efforts on your behalf.
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