Residents of Washington may have heard that some of the state's DUI laws were due to take effect in June. Two specific laws relating to felony drunk driving charges became law on June 7: the first, titled HB 2216, raised the sentencing range for DUI vehicular homicide from a range of 31 to 41 months to a range of 78 to 102 months.
A woman who allegedly made an unsafe lane change on a highway in Washington was charged with drinking and driving and assault. The 38-year-old woman was recently pulled over by a Washington state trooper after attempting to pass a minivan on the highway. According to police, the woman's lane change caused the minivan driver to veer left and hit a guard rail to avoid hitting the woman.
By admitting he had been drinking, a 58-year-old man from Spokane, Washington, who was charged with a felony DUI successfully negotiated a plea bargain with a prosecutor that resulted in a significantly reduced prison sentence. He has four prior convictions and an offender rate of seven. The man was pulled over by police after they found him driving 50 miles per hour in a 70 mph zone. When police drove behind him, the man apparently reduced his speed to around 35 mph. After he was pulled over, police say the man showed signs of being intoxicated, including having bloodshot and watery eyes. He allegedly had a BAC of 0.13, which is above the legal limit.
In Washington, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can carry hefty penalties. In many cases, charges stem from a failed field sobriety test. Even when a defendant consents to this type of search, questions can remain over their veracity. As highlighted in a recent arrest, field sobriety testing can play an integral role in the investigation.