One of the biggest changes in Washington DUI law in the last 5-10 years is the sweeping nature of the ignition interlock device as both a so-called deterrent to and a penalty for a DUI. As of January 2009, interlock devices are a requirement upon any DUI conviction. The Department of Licensing requires them in a broader range of situations. Many courts have been requiring them as a pretrial condition of release. RCW 46.20.710 discusses the legislative intent behind the law. RCW 46.20.720 spells out the interlock requirements both before and after January of 2009.
For those who need to drive for a living or who would be irreparably harmed by a license suspension, the new ignition interlock laws will likely be viewed very positively. They allow for an individual to continue driving during almost any period of Washington license suspension. The Washington DOL would require that a driver show proof of an ignition interlock device and SR-22 insurance. Once that has been done and the DOL approves the ignition interlock license (IIL) application, a person can drive anywhere at any time so long as the car he is driving is equipped with the interlock device.
Not everyone will be happy with all of the changes however. For those who are convicted of DUI in Washington, installation of the IID is now mandatory. Under previous Washington DUI laws, it was permissive, meaning one could get the IID in order to keep driving but could choose not to drive. Now, even in instances where one wished not to drive or doesn’t even own a car, installation of an IID is mandatory. To make matters worse, in cases where a person doesn’t own a car, they may have to be fitted with what is known as a SCRAM bracelet to detect alcohol consumption.
For more information, contact one of our Washington DUI lawyers. We would be glad to discuss this rather confusing area of Washington DUI law with you.