Felony DUI Bill Clears Washington Senate

Apr 18, 2019

Spokane Valley Senator Mike Padden's provision would allow prosecutors to extend their "look back" period to consider DUI charges as felonies.
Credit Senate Republican Caucus

The Washington Senate has approved a bill that would make it easier for put repeat drunk driving offenders behind bars.

Current state law allows prosecutors to charge someone with a felony if they incur a fourth DUI during a 10-year period. Spokane Valley Senator Mike Padden’s bill would extend that so-called “look back” period to 15 years.

“It does give prosecutors an extra tool," Padden said. "It’s not an extraordinary high number, but they’re the worst of the worst. They’re the ones you want to get off the road. They’re the ones most likely to have a vehicular homicide that takes somebody’s life and we see that happening far too often.”

Padden’s provision is part of a larger DUI bill. He says it also would increase fines for DUI cases that involve passengers who are minors. And, he says, it gives judges more latitude in sentencing first-time offenders.

A similar version of the bill was approved by the state House. This bill now goes back there for a final vote. Padden says he expects that to happen and for the bill to go to the governor’s desk.