In response to a number of DUI incidents that had devastating impacts in 2013, the Washington State legislature created two new categories of aggravating sentencing factors that would allow judges to impose even greater penalties than they normally would. In some instances these penalties would be mandatory.
Passenger under the age of 16 in the vehicle
In any case where a person is found guilty of DUI and there is a spacial finding that there was a passenger or passengers in the car who were under the age of 16, the sentencing judge is required to impose additional penalties based upon this aggravating factor. They are:
- An additional 6 months of imposed ignition interlock device (IID)
- An additional 24 hours of imprisonment on a first conviction
- 5 days additional imprisonment on a second offense
- 10 days additional imprisonment for a third offense
- $1,000 fine not to be suspended by the court unless defendant is indigent
Additionally, when a person is arrested for DUI and has a child passenger, the arresting agency is required to to notify Child Protective Services (CPS). This referral will result in CPS performing a child welfare contact and interviewing the arrested person.
Driving the wrong way on a multiple lane highway
The sentencing court may consider whether the person was driving the wrong way on a multiple lane highway with a posted speed limit of 45 mph or greater as an aggravating factor on a DUI conviction. Such a finding does not require any additional penalty, but given recent DUI events in Washington as of 2013, it is likely that sentencing courts will impose enhanced jail sentences on such a finding. There do no appear to be any licensing or ignition interlock consequences.
These new categories of aggravating sentencing factors join the existing aggravating factor of having one or more passengers at the time of the incident. As with driving the wrong way, this factor does not require any mandatory additional penalties and is only a factor for the court to consider.